How About Some Chocolate For Your Health?

This article was originally published by our friend Dr. Sara Gottfried M.D.

I love chocolate not only because of the taste, but because it’s a superfood. It’s functional medicine for your DNA. Cacao (raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans) has nearly twice the antioxidants found in red wine and almost triple the antioxidants of green tea. Most people know that dark chocolate contains magnesium, and most of us don’t get enough. But there are many other nutrients in cacao, including: vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, D, E; and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and phosphorus.

To extract the health benefits from every bite, I recommend dark chocolate. Dark chocolate falls into the category of healthy monounsaturated fats—along with avocados, nuts, and seeds. Milk chocolate contains milk, which counters the benefit of the flavanols, a type of flavonoid (phytonutrient) in cacao. For example, one flavanol in chocolate is epicatechin, which acts like an antioxidant and supports insulin sensitivity.

What’s more: Dark chocolate made with at least 70 percent cacao has been proven to lower cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. Another molecule in chocolate called phenyl ethylamine acts like a gentle antidepressant. Dark chocolate raises serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical in charge of mood, sleep, and appetite.

What research exists on the benefits of chocolate?

In what may be my favorite study ever done on cortisol, subjects who had 40 grams (1.5 ounces) of dark chocolate per day, for two weeks, showed lowered urine cortisol levels.

Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure by 2 to 3 points. It reduces low density lipoproteins (LDL), total cholesterol, and lowers your risk of heart disease. (More studies on chocolate and cardiovascular health can be found here, here , and here. How great is it that all the researchers were itching to find out how good chocolate really is!)

It increases blood flow to the brain, which helps the brain remain neuroplastic and young. It improves executive functioning—including attention, working memory, cognitive flexibility, problem solving, and planning.

Many people speak about the medicinal properties of chocolate, particularly because it provides an antioxidant boost that counters the stress of aging and modern life. From a nutrigenomic perspective, cacao interrupts the mTOR pathway, which helps to slow down aging. It reduces the inflammation associated with acute stress. Dark chocolate dilates blood vessels by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme for 3 hours. (The effect may be even more powerful depending on your genetic makeup.)

A study from Harvard Medical School found that drinking hot chocolate improves brain health and reduces memory loss in people in their seventies.

What should we look for on a chocolate label?

Extra dark chocolate—at least 80 percent cacao or higher, is ideal. When chocolate has higher cacao content, it has more health benefits, in part because there are more flavanols and in part because there is less sugar. I recommend organic, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate. If you want to cut out cane sugar altogether, there are some good options sweetened with stevia and coconut sugar (see below). Avoid chocolate with 5 grams of sugar or more.

Aim for purveyors that use single-origin cacao and pay attention to how they limit mold toxins—honestly this comes from studying the company and seeing their commitment in action, such as with the chocolate from Bulletproof. It’s debatable whether the level of mycotoxins in chocolate are enough to harm you, but you will be more vulnerable if you’re like me and one of the 25 percent of the population with the genetics of mold sensitivity.

Europe has more stringent mold standards than the U.S., so reach for a European chocolate when you can, such as Lindt (I like their 90% and 99% cacao). As an example, forty grams of 90% chocolate from Lindt contains 3 grams of sugar. Thumbs up! Sadly, mold toxins are common in chocolate and coffee. Keep chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer to limit growth of mold once you open your bar.

Look out for “fair trade” label

There’s a fair amount of child labor and slavery among some chocolate producers, so consider buying from ethical origins or look for “Fair Trade” on the label. I’m also careful to avoid chocolate mixed with inflammatory oils (like cheap vegetable oils, partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats, palm kernel oil)—I eat chocolate made with raw cacao mixed with organic cacao butter.

Now that most people avoid soy lecithin, the question is whether sunflower lecithin is better. It’s added to chocolate for emulsification, or to make the chocolate more creamy and smooth. Sunflower lecithin is derived from the gum of sunflower seeds by cold pressing. Compared with soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin is not chemically processed if cold pressed, not allergenic, and not genetically modified. If your chocolate contains sunflower lecithin, just make it organic.

How much should we be consuming, and how often?

I recommend eating one small square (about 1 to 1.5 ounces) of dark chocolate per day. Note: 1 ounce of dark chocolate contains about 12 milligrams of caffeine (about half the amount in a cup of green tea), so be careful not to overindulge, particularly if you’re like me and slowly metabolize caffeine due to your CYP1A2 gene. If you think chocolate might be an avalanche food—you eat one bite and won’t stop until the bar is gone—I’d avoid it altogether.

Is chocolate best eaten on its own, or is it better mixed with certain ingredients or used in cooking?

I prefer to eat extra dark chocolate on its own. I let it melt in my mouth slowly, so I can savor every tiny bit. I like 85 to 99 percent cacao, which takes some getting used to. It tastes like somewhat bitter at first until your palate adjusts. If your palate prefers the less dark variety, consider pairing your chocolate with nuts or seeds to lower the glycemic impact (raising your blood sugar may age you).

Drinking chocolate is another way to get your health benefits. Find a good organic chocolate herbal tea, or mix up a delicious green shake with a chocolate-flavored protein powder. Every morning, I start my day with a chocolate protein-packed shake with plenty of greens to get myself energized for my day—the strong chocolate flavor balances out the taste of the greens. It’s delicious, fills me up, and stabilizes my blood sugar.

So my friends, I’ve laid it all out for you. I like that chocolate tastes great, makes me feel good and loads me up with antioxidants and other goodies. Chocolate can actually be good for you!


Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!

Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)


Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...

#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!

How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)


In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)

Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!

1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!

2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)

3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report

5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric

6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't

7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors

Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.