Five great reasons to consume cocoa and chocolate
- The fatty acids in cocoa consists mainly of stearic acid and oleic acid. Unlike most saturated fatty acids, stearic acid does not raise blood cholesterol levels (not that we care about blood cholesterol levels, but maybe it will help keep your doctor from needlessly freaking out on you). Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that also does not raise cholesterol and may even reduce it.
- Contains flavonoids (procyanidins and epicatechins). These are part of a group of powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. They are found in a variety of foods including dark chocolate, tea, red wine, and various fruits and vegetables.
- There are a variety of factors that can improve mood and a sense of pleasure by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Cocoa beans also contain dopamine, phenylethylamine and serotonin, compounds that are known to enhance mood and promote feelings of well-being.
- Regular consumption may be associated with better cognitive performance in the elderly.
- Contains numerous minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Some Wheat Belly tips for consuming chocolate
Chocolate can be a wonderfully enjoyable ingredient in your Wheat Belly lifestyle. But why not extract maximum health benefit while not running into health booby-traps in order to preserve all the benefits of your Wheat Belly lifestyle?
Be aware of some basic issues surrounding chocolate:
- Milk chocolate is much higher in sugar content, so stick with the darkest chocolates.
- Milk binds to antioxidants in chocolate, making them unavailable; thus, milk chocolate is not a good antioxidant source.
- Choose chocolate that is no less then 70 to 85% cocoa (even 90%–don’t worry: Us wheat- and grain-free people have heightened sensitivity to sweetness and even the 90% is sweet to us) and eat no more than 40 grams (approximately 2 inches square) per day to limit sugar.
- 100% chocolate– cocoa with cocoa butter but no sugar–great to add a rich chocolate taste to any dish.
- Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger and Hershey are all widely available brands.
- People with dairy sensitivities can also use 100% chocolate to avoid exposure to dairy components.
An oldie, but goodie: Chocolate For Adults Only
I call this Chocolate For Adults Only because it is certain to leave young, sugar-craving palates unsatisfied. But rest assured, it is appropriate for the most serious chocolate craving!
This is a way to obtain the rich flavors and textures of cocoa, the health benefits (for example, blood pressure reduction and anti-oxidation) of cocoa flavonoids, while obtaining none of the sugars/carbohydrates . . . and certainly no wheat or grains!
It is easy to make, requiring just a few ingredients, a few steps, and a few minutes. Set aside and save some for an indulgence, e.g., dip into natural peanut or almond butter.
Variations are easy, too: a few drops of orange extract and orange zest, a few drops of peppermint extract, some unsweetened dried berries, and a few drops of berry extract, among others.
Regardless of which variation you choose to make, be sure to taste your mixture before allowing to solidify. Desired sweetness can vary widely; you may wish to add more or less sweetener to suit individual taste.
Makes approximately 24 2-inch pieces.
- 8 ounces 100% unsweetened chocolate
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup dry roasted pistachios or other chopped nuts
- 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds or chia seeds
- Sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar (e.g., 2 tbsp. Virtue Sweetener)
Using double-boiler method, melt cocoa. Alternatively, melt cocoa in microwave in 15-20 second increments. Stir in coconut oil, nuts, and flaxseed or chia seeds. Stir in sweetener gradually, mixing thoroughly; adjust sweetener to taste.
Lay a sheet of parchment paper out on a large baking pan. Pour chocolate mixture slowly onto paper to create one large continuous chocolate, tilting the pan carefully to spread evenly until a thickness similar to thick cardboard obtained. Alternatively, pour out to make 2-inch rounds. Place pan in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Remove chocolate and break by hand into pieces of desired size.