Dark chocolate has been proven to relieve emotional stress, lower blood pressure, improve blood flow by reducing platelet activation, lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. It has been proven to lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks, both of which are big concerns for midlife women.
Part of that heart healthy effect comes from the high levels of magnesium in chocolate.
Magnesium also pushes calcium into our bones so it is important for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
Chocolate contains a substance called epicatechin which is also found in tea, and it has been proven to protect the brain in the event of a stroke. It also has substances called polyphenols which increase your good HDL cholesterol.
The more chocolate is processed the more the flavonoids are destroyed. So the best source of chocolate antioxidants comes from dark chocolate (70% or higher) and an even better source is 100% raw cacao.
Raw cacao is available as beans, nibs, or powder and has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food.
Smoothies are a great way to get cacao into your diet without adding in the sugars and milk solids that detract from its healthful benefits. A good brand of the cacao powder is Navitas which is available in health food stores, Whole Foods Market and Amazon.com