Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is Chocolate Good for Your Health?

Ok.  Don't freak out.  I'm not going to sit here and say that you should daily consume a brick of chocolate or replace your nightly meal with 3 cakes and some caramel topping.  What I am saying is that at Ontario Bakerywe love chocolate as much as the next person. Why not smile about the benefits that come from including a little bit into each day?  

So grab your coffee and some chocolate nibs, sit down and relax.  You are going to love we have to share with you. 

First things first.  Let's start by making sure we are on the same page.  If you're hoping and waiting for me to hand you snickers and say it's 'good for you',  you're going to be sorely disappointed. Chocolate in it's purest form, when it's closest to the bean, has loads of health benefits.

The magic is in the pure cacao! The good news is that there are still candy bars your craving heart can reach for in your time of need.  The goal here is to find a bar with the highest cocoa/cacao content.  The higher the content, the less room there will be for unhealthy fillers and fats. (The things that make other candy bars so cheap and damaging to your beautiful health.. and skin!) 

Chocolate is loaded with winning antioxidants.  And what are antioxidants good for? They rid the body of free radicals; those menacing little molecules creating the havoc in your body responsible for aging, disease and even cancer! The antioxidants bond themselves to the free radicals and pretty much walk the plank with them to make sure they are disposed of properly.

Can you think of some other foods that contain antioxidants?   Pomegranates, blueberries, green tea, red wine, gogi berries?  ...  Would you believe that chocolate beats all their numbers??

The USDA published a chart of antioxidant foods measured by ORAC's (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity Units).  For each 100 grams, the cacao in dark chocolate has 13,120 ORACs while blueberries only have 2,400! That's absolutely incredible! So, consuming a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants has the ability to lower the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, cancer, asthma, Alzheimer's and more.

While I could dedicate a whole page to just the antioxidant benefits, I'm going to move on the the exterior perks you are free to enjoy! 

The cacao bean also contains various essential nutrients which help you to stay healthny and beautiful. With great sun protection properties, it has the power to shield your skin from harmful UV rays, preventing sensitive conditions like sunburns and skin cancer. Regular dark chocolate consumption also helps you achieve that sought after smooth, problem free glow, as it keeps your skin moist and well nourished.

Not just for eating, this magical bean can be used in combination with coffee beans for efficient exfoliating! It detoxifies and sloughs off the dead skin cells and allows the newly exposed, fresh skin to breathe freely.

Stress can really mess with your work, home and general quality of life. Dark chocolate boasts wonderful stress-relieving qualities and works wonders in getting you a glowing skin (more skin benefits!) by reducing elevated stress hormones. .....ah...  dopamine! 

Cacao is a great aid in promoting blood circulation in the scalp which leads to increased growth of healthy, lustrous locks, reducing hair loss. In addition to that, it's anti-inflammatory nature helps minimize the odds of getting scalp infections.  Infused with the goodness of several hair-benefiting ingredients, dark chocolate improves the overall health of your tresses, making them shiny, sleek and voluminous.
I hope you found this article helpful and inspirational toward better care of your overall health. To be honest, there are even more benefits that I encourage you to explore on your own and please, share them in the comments below! 
In the meantime, if you so find yourself wanting to indulge a little bit more into your sweet tooth and have a celebration to prepare for, please let us know!  At Ontario Bakery we are always ready to make your life a little sweeter. 

By: Navae Fiona

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