Chocolate can be extremely healthful and beneficial to your health, but before you get carried away with those common candy bars from childhood, understand that the superfood nutritional qualities come from cacao or cocoa, the bitter seeds from which chocolate is made.
It’s best to select chocolates labeled Fair Trade and organic with at least 70% cacao or cocoa (both words indicate the same bean) and no sweeter than bitter-sweet. The more bitter the better. Anything less is too watered down with milk and saturated with unhealthful refined sugar, or worse, HFCS corn syrup.
Actually, the most healthful form of cacao is cacao nibs, small bitter pieces of cacao that you can nibble on, put into coffee, top off a bowl of plain whole milk organic yogurt with raw honey, or throw the nibs into a smoothie. They can be purchased from the spice bulk section of a good health food store.
Raw cacao powder or nibs are super antioxidants, which protect you against cellular damage from the oxidative stress of free radicals. Their ORAC ratings (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) are higher than any other food, with dark chocolates not far behind.
Antioxidant protection reduces aging symptoms and helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease, and even cancer. You can even ease a common coughing spell with dark chocolate.
Moderate consumption of dark chocolate for optimum health benefits should be six to ten grams almost every day. A typical dark chocolate bar is 100 grams. A heaping tablespoon of cacao nibs is probably even better.