Chocolate for Detox? That’s right. Not a detox FROM chocolate but rather chocolate FOR detox.
I’m not a fan of deprivation especially when it comes to chocolate. There are some guidelines, however, if you want to indulge in some chocolate AND receive all of its wonderful benefits.
We’ve heard the buzz about dark chocolate and antioxidants. What does it mean exactly? Cocoa contains bioactive compounds such as flavanols, procyanidins and a particularly high amount of (-)-epicatechin. Research shows that these compounds improve blood flow by increasing amounts of Nitric Oxide and help oxygenate the brain. That is as good as it sounds – think improved memory, circulation and even some anti-aging effects. Cocoa has also been linked to improved insulin sensitivity.
HOW DOES THIS HELP DETOX:
Unlike singular antioxidants such as vitamin C, the polyphenol mix of compounds in cocoa has a broader impact - a nutritional complex primed to combat free radicals. You see, in the clearance of toxins, often a somewhat harmful molecule is broken down into two more harmful molecules creating free radicals. These free radicals can bounce around wrecking havoc because they have an unpaired electron. Here is where our antioxidant superheroes come in donating an electron and neutralizing the free radicals making them easier to eliminate. Cocoa not only contains a variety of antioxidants but also increases nitric oxide – which can act as an antioxidant in its own right. GO CHOCOLATE!
HOW DO I INDULGE:
Not all chocolate is created equal. 85% or darker is ideal and be sure to read the ingredients (organic cocoa beans should be listed 1st). Limit sugar as much as possible – I look for a single digit sugar/serving on the nutrition label. The beneficial dose is about 25-40g or about 200 calories. Find an amazing chocolate and indulge in a small serving each day!
Here are a few options:
Of course, I am pretty hard core with my dark chocolate so I love the extra darks! What’s your favorite?