I have always felt, deep in my heart, that chocolate is good for you. I mean, after all, cocoa beans are beans and that means that they are a legume – right?! The sugar that is added to the chocolate is technically a grass (and that is green and has roots), or it comes from a sugar beet, which is a vegetable. The cream is a dairy product. In other words, chocolate is an all-around good source of vegetables, dairy, and legumes. I am sure that some people think that my reasoning is flawed, but I find that most people are easily persuaded to my way of thinking.
I have always been really big on milk chocolate, the creamier the better. Dark chocolate was only acceptable when wrapped around mint. This is one reason that my husband and I get along so well – he likes the dark chocolate and I like the light. He doesn’t touch my chocolate and I leave his chocolate stash alone. BUT - that is about to change.
For a while now, the medical community has been telling us that dark chocolate is very healthy for our bodies. I remember when this information was first released because everybody was talking about it. I felt that if I held out long enough, that the doctors would someday include milk chocolate as being healthy, but whenever I would suggest it to my doctors, they would just laugh at me.
To be quite honest, I was a little discouraged because I really didn’t like dark chocolate, that is until I read the book “The Sugar Solution” written by Sari Harrar and the editors of Prevention® with Julia Vantine. They wrote about the studies that Penny Kreis-Etherton, R.D., Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, had done about people who ate products with lots of cocoa powder and dark chocolate. She found that these people actually “had lower oxidation levels of bad LDL cholesterol, higher blood antioxidant levels, and 4 percent higher levels of good HDL cholesterol”. (pg. 137)
After extensive testing, the researchers at the University of California in Davis found that the 1 1/3 oz. Dove Dark chocolate bar has the highest amount of flavanol in it and was the healthiest of the healthy chocolate. They also found that “In the test tube, Cocoapro cocoa reduces blood clotting. It may also stabilize arterial plaque, making it less likely to travel and cause a stroke or heart attack. This effect is similar to that of aspirin.” (pg. 137) Another thing that they found was that “Some of the procyanidins in Cocoapro trigger the production of nitric oxide, which helps keep arteries flexible and increases blood flow.” (pg. 137)
Now, I am all in favor of flexible arteries and good blood flow, and so for the good of everyone, I felt it my duty to test this product out. I immediately went to the store (the next day) and tracked down the Dove Dark chocolate bar. I actually had to ask for help to find it, but we did find it. I am now a dark chocolate lover! Dark chocolate has always had a bitter taste and aftertaste that I didn’t like, but this was a phenomenally smooth, creamy tasting chocolate experience. My suggestion is to not chew it up, but to place one cube at a time on your tongue and just let it melt. I could swear that I could feel my arteries getting more supple and flexible by the cube! Ask Santa to bring some for your stocking.
I have always felt that it was important to have cocoa powder in your food storage because things made with chocolate have a natural way of lifting your spirits. When you are going through a difficult time, having a good attitude is more than half the battle of overcoming the current adversity. Just ask any chocolate lover how good they feel after eating chocolate.
Now, to find my husband’s Dove Dark chocolate bar stash.