01 Apr For The Love of Dark Chocolate
A few days ago I left with my husband, Kelly, on a business trip to DC. After unpacking and getting situated in the room, we went to the gym and worked out together. Next, was a quick lunch. When we were walking back to the hotel, I told my husband that I was craving dark chocolate, so we set out to find some. Rationalizing my desire, I mentioned that I read somewhere if you crave chocolate, your body actually wants magnesium.
When we got back to the hotel, I did some research and found support for my reasoning. In addition to reading that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that protect our DNA, I learned about the importance of magnesium. It is an essential mineral for our health. It activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is also required for energy production and supports a healthy immune system. Dark chocolate contains a good amount of magnesium!
Certainly, we can choose a healthier way to get magnesium, such green leafy vegetables, but I was on a mission to justify the goodness in dark chocolate.
According to an article I read on bembu, chocolate “is the granddaddy of all cravings, and one that you don’t want to ignore. It’s not surprising that chocolate pops up as the most common craving because it works on our endorphins and makes us feel good. It’s not such a bad thing to crave feeling good, so you don’t want to deprive yourself of chocolate long-term.”
I honestly have never been a huge chocolate person, but every once in a while, I do love a piece of dark chocolate. I keep a little stash hidden in the kitchen so that “my people” won’t get it.
Dark chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate for several reasons:
- Dark chocolate is brimming with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS)
- Dark has fewer carbs, half the sugar and four times the fiber
- Dark has about 4.5 times more iron
- Dark has significantly more magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
- Dark has more zinc
- Milk chocolate has 3% cholesterol while dark chocolate has .3%
- The 324 mg of bitter alkaloid of cacao (theobromine) in dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure compared to the 82 mg in milk chocolate
The bottom line: dark chocolate wins!
When buying chocolate, stick to high-cacao percentages (70% and above) to cut down on sugar and opt to spend more money on quality chocolate with real, natural ingredients.
The key to eating dark chocolate is that you only need a square or two to satisfy your craving and receive all the benefits. So, my advice to you: eat dark chocolate once in a while as a treat that provides some good nutrients for your body. The rest of the time, stick to healthier options and if your healthcare practitioner recommends a magnesium supplement, you can purchase in Mary Caire MD’s store.
Written by Karen Shackelford
Mary Caire MD empowers the world to create a culture of optimized health guided by DNA and epigenetics.