Beneficial Wonders of Dark Chocolate.

Welcome to the dark side of chocolate! It’s National Dark Chocolate Day today! Is dark chocolate something you like or are you more of a milk chocolate fan? I enjoy both, but I have to be in a “mood” for either one! I have learned, however, that there are benefits to enjoying dark chocolate. Dark chocolate meaning “a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa” (Source: HealthLine.com). Keep in mind, as I share the information of dark chocolate, while it is beneficial to your health, I (and the experts) are not telling you to eat dark chocolate in high quantities – after all, 100 grams of chocolate would be 3.5 ounces. While there may be many nutrients and benefits to dark chocolate, there are also 600 or so calories and don’t forget, there is sugar in most brands. Consuming 600 calories of chocolate on a regular basis is not good for anyone (Source: HealthLine.com)!

In a previous time in my life, I enjoyed working for a healthcare system in my area and I was part of a healthy heart program for women. I would assist in setting up community events that featured cardiologists and other physicians, and they too, had similar information to share about eating dark chocolate!

So let’s continue. There is a powerhouse of nutrients in dark chocolate:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • Packed with: potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium
  • Check out these RDA’s (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for the following:
    • 67% Iron
    • 58% Magnesium
    • 89% Copper
    • 98% Manganese
      (Source: HealthLine.com).

Let’s talk about antioxidants. There are a lot of organic compounds in dark chocolate that are “biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include: polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others (Source: HealthLine.com).” So what does this actually mean? What are antioxidants?

Definition from MedlinePlus:

Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements.

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants have been known to help you stay healthy and also may lower the risk of certain diseases.

Consuming dark chocolate may also help lower your blood pressure and also help reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate increased HDL (good cholesterol) and lower total LDL (bad cholesterol) in men that had elevated cholesterol levels (Source: HealthLine.com).

It also appears that chomping on some of the dark chocolate can help improve blood flow through the body, so much so, that researchers are looking into how dark chocolate can improve brain function. Cocoa contains caffeine and theobromine, known stimulants, which may be why cocoa can improve brain function for short-term periods (Source: HealthLine.com).

So there you have it. Go enjoy SOME, not LOTS, of dark chocolate! Do you have a favorite? If so, share with us! Keep checking out the blog all through February, I’ll be sharing more heart healthy info, recipes and products!

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For the Organic Fanatic.

Organic. By definition it means: of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides. (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

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Most of us today want to eat food and drink beverages that are not comprised of noxious chemical elements and that contain pure, fresh ingredients. There are many organic products on the market to choose from and it can be hard as a consumer to determine was is best for themselves and/or their families.

I introduced Maintal products not long ago in a post dedicated to rosehip. Today I am going to introduce you to Maintal Organic Fruit Spread. Not only is this product organic, it’s also vegan and all natural. This blueberry organic fruit spread is made with 40% fruit and is made in Germany. So what’s on the label? What are the ingredients? I’m happy to tell you:

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar*, blueberries*, water, lemon juice concentrate* (acidifier), pectin. *Denotes: Only from controlled organic agriculture.

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That’s a pretty basic and simple list of organic ingredients in this fruit spread. This fruit spread contains pieces of actual fruit, as it should, for being all natural and organic! While some fruit spreads with actual fruit pieces sometimes taste odd or may have a texture issue, there is none of that with this Maintal product! Delicious, fruitful and smooth!

The blueberry organic fruit spread is perfect for breads, cakes, pastries and more. According to Maintal’s website, there are approximately 1 million vegan Germans. The mindset of people consciously increasing the amount of vegan products in their diet has been growing. Those who have included vegan foods in their diet have been found to have noticeable effects on the well-being of people who suffer from allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Maintal’s production processes and techniques have helped to preserve as many vitamins as possible within the fruit spreads. The combination of organic and vegan benefits nature, as well as, providing a simple taste of organic food for gourmet connoisseurs.

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