Halloween is around the corner, and many of us are worried about the temptation of the candy and chocolate all around us.
But the good news is – you CAN indulge in chocolate and stay healthy! Dark Chocolate is loaded with fiber, protein, important minerals (including magnesium and iron) and antioxidants that support your brain, heart, and more! Having about 1 ounce of organic dark chocolate (70-90% cocoa) is a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.
I personally eat it almost every day, and it helps keep me happy, healthy and balanced!
AMAZING BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE:
Dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants, that has been proven to contribute to multiple health benefits, including:
- A Healthier Heart: Dark chocolate contains a ton of biologically active compounds that act as antioxidants, most notably, flavanols. These flavanols have a powerful ability to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow in your arteries, lowering your chance of heart disease.
- A Healthier Brain: Flavanols in dark chocolate enhance cognitive function and increase blood flow to your brain.
- Healthier Cholesterol: Flavanols help lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and raise HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels, again lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Healthier Skin: Flavanols in dark chocolate make your skin more resistant to sunburn, by cutting the impact of UV exposure on the skin. It also results in smoother, thicker and less dried out skin, which translates to fewer wrinkles and skin issues overall. (I love this one!!)
- Healthier Blood Sugar: Flavanols can improve insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance.
- Healthier Teeth: Cocoa bean husks contain antibacterial compounds that inhibit the formation of plaque and biofilms where cavity-causing bacteria can thrive. (However, it must be very dark chocolate with little to no sugar, to avoid the negatives of sugar on your teeth!)
- A Healthier Weight: Cocoa is rich in fiber and protein, containing 2.5 to 5 grams of fiber and protein on average per 1 oz serving. This provides a great snack that will keep you full and support your digestion.
- Improved Mood: Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, those "pleasure" chemicals" in the brain. It also contains serotonin, the neurotransmitters which boost your mood and keep you happy!
CHOCOLATE SHOPPING GUIDE:
When shopping for chocolate, look for ones WITHOUT artificial ingredients, milk/milk fat, or soy lecithin. Opt for one with organic ingredients, and ideally containing less than 8g of sugar per serving.
And if you’re like me and love Reese’s peanut butter cups, then go for the Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. These are not something that I'd recommend you eat everyday, but for Halloween, it’s a great substitution for the less-healthy Reese’s!
MY HEALTHY TIPS:
This Halloween, add some dark chocolate squares to your kids trick-or-treat bags, and keep some at home. So when you’re about to grab that sugary candy corn or processed milk chocolate, grab some of your healthier dark chocolate instead!
Above and beyond this Holiday weekend: stop thinking of chocolate as a “forbidden food”. Next time you’re craving some chocolate, allow yourself to indulge without stressing. Just aim to find a slightly healthier alternative to satisfy your craving, and give in without the guilt (which is only destructive!).
More generally, try following an 80/20 lifestyle – where 80% of the time you are super healthy (eating the foods that you know support your health and ideal weight), and 20% of the time, you allow for some of the less healthy things that you enjoy. Just aim to make better decisions when indulging (like choosing organic dark chocolate, or making your own chocolate desserts!).
And be gentle with yourself when you indulge – avoid toxic conversations with yourself that keep you in a vicious cycle of guilt and shame!
If you want more support with this, please reach out to me. I promise, weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult nor super restrictive. It’s about finding what works for you individually, while always maintaining some balance.
So have a great Halloween weekend, and please, enjoy some healthy, delicious dark chocolate!
Love and Chocolate,