Attention all chocolate lovers (just in time for Valentine’s Day):

By now, most of us know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for us. They provide our bodies with important nutrients, including polyphenols.

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that work hard to protect us from getting sick. These chemical compounds offer health benefits beyond those provided by essential vitamins and minerals.

But fruits and vegetables aren’t the only foods with these valuable nutrients. Cocoa “beans” (technically seeds) are an excellent source! These are the foundation for dark chocolate. 

Research shows that polyphenols from dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure, lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol and protect against heart disease and stroke. Not only are they heart healthy, but indulging in moderate amounts of dark chocolate might reduce your risk of developing diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.

Also, dark chocolate stimulates the release of certain brain chemicals that generate feelings of happiness and pleasure.  

And, here’s the real kicker… Polyphenols can positively impact the composition of our gut microbiota. And, gut microbes break down polyphenols into special compounds that benefit our health.  

This is far more information than most of us need to justify eating chocolate. But it’s important to choose the right kinds of chocolate, because not all chocolate is healthy.

Choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids (at least 70 percent- go higher if you can). The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar. Avoid dark chocolates with sugary add-ins, such as caramel or nougat. Choose options with few ingredients. Milk chocolate is not a good source of polyphenols.

Here are some of our favorite dark chocolate treats: 

  1. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips (Scott’s go-to
  2. Hu Dark Chocolate (Bertina’s favorite, the mint flavor is Scott’s special treat 😍)
  3. Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate, 85% Cacao (Colleen’s favorite)

About three-quarters to one ounce of dark chocolate each day is more than enough to reap the health benefits without overdosing on the calories or sugar. If you struggle with portion control, then choose individually wrapped chocolates. Like anything else, you can have too much of a good thing.

Note: Dark chocolate can cause heartburn, loose stool, and/or abdominal cramps in some people with gastrointestinal conditions. As always, start with a tiny amount before gradually increasing. 

Get Your FREE Nutritious and Delicious eBook!

Yours FREE when you sign up for our newsletter that's packed full of practical tips, strategies and more to help battle IBD and gut issues!

Nice, you have successfully subscribed! Check your email for a link to the download Nutritious and Delicious!

10 Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis Friendly Recipes

Yours FREE when you sign up for our newsletter that's packed full of practical tips, strategies and more to help battle IBD and gut issues!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis Smoothie Cheat Sheat

Yours FREE when you sign up for our newsletter that's packed full of practical tips, strategies and more to help battle IBD and gut issues!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

The RDN Diet Cheat Sheet

Sign up for the RDN Diet Cheat Sheet. A reference guide to help RDNs quickly identify what foods are OK and not OK on well-known IBD diets.

 

Success! Check your email

The WBF Eat This Challenge

Sign up for our 4-week Eat This Challenge. Each week you’ll get an email with your food or ingredient of the week.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This