Everyone has cravings on occasion. If you’re going strong and steady with a new weight loss goal, you no doubt are really craving some taboo food. What would you say if we told you to add cocoa to your diet to help stay on track and achieve your goals? No, we’re not referring to the chemically processed sugary sweet puff cereal you loved as a child. We are talking about the cocoa bean loaded in healthy antioxidants. Cocoa can help us feel satiated and reduce our cravings without guilt or remorse. In fact, cocoa has tons of magnesium and is a good source of fiber as well. Raw, organic cocoa powder, free of milk, sugar, pesticides and processed ingredients, is really no less than a superfood. It may be just what you need to sit down, relax and de-stress with a cup of hot cocoa!
The benefits of cocoa are seen when using low sugar or unsweetened dark chocolate and pure cocoa instead of commercially available candy bars. When you crave a candy bar, look for an organic raw dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the finest dark chocolate rich in healthy flavonoids. However, limit the portion size because even though dark chocolate contains good-for-you flavonoids, it also has not-so-good-for-you fat, sugar, and calories. Overindulging in chocolate can undo any health benefits and lead to weight gain and related health problems.
According to WebMD, antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease, age-related macular degeneration and aging in general because they fight free radicals in the body. The trendy “super foods” are the ones bursting with antioxidants — acai, goji berries, blueberries and pomegranate have become the super-food darlings. But antioxidants come in surprising forms too, such as in foods once considered more taboo than health food, such as coffee, red wine and yes, chocolate. Which is one of the areas where chocolate, especially in the form of hot cocoa, shines. The antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as much as red wine. Cocoa’s concentration was two to three times stronger than that of green tea and four to five times stronger than that of black tea.
Commercial instant hot cocoa mixes are often more of an artificial chemical nightmare that may eradicate any good the cocoa may have to offer. One of the most popular mixes, for example, lists cocoa fifth on the list of ingredients, beneath the higher-level ingredients of sugar, corn syrup and a medley of vegetable oils.
So if you’re trying to curb your sweet tooth craving, drop the big bag of candy and try adding cocoa instead!