Don’t feel guilty about tucking into your chocolate this Valentine’s Day (Thursday) – there is such a thing as guilt-free chocolate, and it can even be good for you!
Chocolate can boost your health, from improving your mood to being anti-inflammatory, lowering blood pressure, thinning the blood, reducing stroke risk and helping stop a cough.
But Joshua Gaudry, food scientist at Flannerys Organic and Wholefood Market says it’s important to choose your chocolate wisely.
“Opt for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate,” he says, “especially the ones withhigh cocoa solid content, anything around 70 per cent and above is perfect, as it offers more health benefits than its counterpart due to containing more antioxidants and being lower in sugar.”
Scientific studies have shown that dark chocolate, which is also low GI, has the feel-good factor due to mood-elevating chemicals, including tryptophan, tyrosine, caffeine, epicatechin and theobromine.
“Tryptophan stimulates production of serotonin, the brain’s natural anti-depressant,” adds Joshua, “and can equate the feelings it induces to those we experience when we feel content and happy.
“Because it’s low GI, it doesn’t cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after being eaten, and higher the cacao content, the higher the antioxidant and flavonoid content, which can help protect against some types of cancer, heart disease and can even help lower blood pressure.
“Studies show theobromine can suppress coughing by acting on the vagus nerve. Dark chocolate has lots of benefits, as long as it’s eaten in small amounts as part of a well-balanced diet.”
Have a sweet tooth? Enjoy these raw brownies guilt free! Packed with antioxidants from raw cacao, plenty of fibre from dates plus omega-3 fats from walnuts – they’re a healthy treat alternative (gluten free, vegan, raw) you won’t be able to put down!
2 cups organic walnuts
1 cup organic raw cacao
¼ tsp sea salt
2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup organic walnuts, roughly chopped
- Blend 2 cups of walnuts until finely ground. Add cacao and salt to blender until combined.
- Add dates gradually to blender. Mixture will appear crumbly, but should be slightly sticky when pressed. Add more dates if needed.
- Transfer to a large bowl and add the roughly chopped walnuts. Press into a lined baking tin and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Sprinkle with extra cacao powder lightly then enjoy!
Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market offers a huge range of fresh, healthy and organic produce, more than 300 unpackaged bulk wholefoods and hormone-free meat from Brookvale Meats. It stocks gluten-free products galore, has an onsite café, and boasts more than 200 herbal extracts in the dispensary. Pop in for free naturopathic advice, vegan-friendly and paraben-free cosmetics, plus all the regular health food supplies.