Today is one of my favorite, healthy days of remembrance. Although Hershey’s Chocolate is associated with our first National Chocolate Day, one could argue historically that this day was centuries in the making. Can you handle that?
Here’s to the revered Goddess of chocolate in Mayan culture – Ixcacao! And here’s to a World War II Norwegian pilot, Roald Dahl, who wrote prolifically, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This clever book may be better known with Willy Wonka replacing Charlie. I think that Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp make me chuckle, whether they are WILLY or CHARLIE…
Why is July 7th and International Chocalate Day a fave of mine? Well, it isn’t just because ancient Mayans equated chocolate to fertility. Did I mention that “good” dark chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac?
Stay tuned, if you like “DARK SECRETS”
Thanking the good healthy folks @ Biotrustnutrition.com, I offer this free advice about DARK chocolate (cacao).
It is actually cocoa which has our significant health and waistline-friendly benefits, as Aztecs believed in Xochiquetzal – their deity of fertility, flowers, and fruit – all good things (remember my group of clean-eating Vitamin P(lants).
Cacao or Cocoa contains up to three times more polyphenol antioxidants than trusted green tea (with its own potentially high concentration of catechin ECGC). Why?
A natural compound called theobromine, a healthy alkaloid once which was once known as xantheose. If you wonder how this alkaloid came to be, the cacao tree is classified as a Theobroma. Please don’t be psyched out by the term alkaloid, or try to recall Freshman Chemistry class – it just means that nitrogen is bonded to elemental carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in some useful way. Caffeine is an alkaloid cousin, so cocoa does contain a wee bit of caffeine. Note to self – consider the Dan Pink “WHEN” for your cocoa nibs snack!
Theobromine has good fat loss properties, like appetite suppression. So, a small amount can help control hunger and address cravings for sweets. KABOOMERS remember portion control as an eat clean habit, plus they usually heed the counsel of author Judith Viorst:
“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four
pieces with your bare hands and then eat just one of the
Theobromine has the potential to heighten your fat-burning abilities. Researchers found that
theobromine can increase fatty acid utilization during exercise, with potentially improved performance resulting.
Insulin sensitivity benefits are also documented for this naturally occurring polyphenol. A very good thing! As is its sexy chemical triggering of serotonin and dopamine release when you eat dark chocolate.
Low Cal (maybe)!
Cocoa has very few dietary calories, unlike many “light” CHOCOLATE bars, or Ghiradelli milk chocolate CALORIC treats.
Be a bit choosy, as reminded below with a Mae West humorous adage:
|Unsweetened Cocoa Powder||Unsweetened Cacao Nibs||Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips||Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa|
|Fat||3.5 grams||11 grams||8 grams||13 grams|
|Saturated fat||2 grams||2.5 grams||5 grams||8 grams|
|Protein||5 grams||9 grams||1 gram||2 grams|
|Carbs||16 grams||6 grams||20 grams||14 grams|
|Added Sugars||0 grams||0 grams||18 grams||9 grams|
|Fiber||9 grams||3 grams||1 gram||3 grams|
|Iron||22% of the RDI||4% of the RDI||12% of the RDI||30% of the RDI|
As you move down the “healthy” scale of dark chocolate (from highest to lowest cocoa content), you’ll find more unclean calories, refined sugar, less protein, less fiber (and fewer flavonols).
Now, TOO much of a good food item is NOT wonderful, as healthline reminds us.
I encourage KABOOMERS to UNDERcook their Keto brownies or other “healthy” snacks, as too much heat destroys some of the desired anti-oxidant properties we seek.
Now, to the performance benefits of DARK cocoa / cacao/chocolate –
Vasodilation sounds mystic, yet it just means that your miles of blood vessels relax to aid and abet cell nourishment. Think higher blood flow for your cardiovascular and skeletal muscular systems. Think “lower” blood pressure too!
As for cycling, or rowing, or running or swimming miles and miles, Science Daily offers:
“”We found that people could effectively exercise for longer after eating dark chocolate -something that’s not been established before in this way.”
Happy CACAO Day! Here’s to two divine beings – Ixcacao and Xochiquetzal. No big deals for KABOOMERs, just fertility, vasodilation and performance…
ps – remember portion of your divine control 🙂