The dark side of health is a super maxed nutrition booster. It is black, brown and deeply shady in colour. Monochrome superfood is luxuriously melting, and taste bud teasingly delicious. A little every day is your dark health secret. Chocolate and liquorice? Check out 13 reasons why you can give yourself a guilt free well-thy spring boost – and why now is the perfect time to get sweet again.
The Dark Side of Health: Monochrome Superfood
Black is back in more ways than one when it comes to health foods. You need to vary colour, texture, and taste to have a varied diet.
anthocyanin there is. This plant pigment is scientifically proven to lower the risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Black foods have more antioxidants than light-coloured foods because of their high pigment content. Get into the darker side of superfoods, and enjoy black rice, lentils, berries, chia, sesame and beans.
Monochrome superfood is black or white and today we explore two dark friends that you need to get into your life even if you may not think they’re healthy. Dark chocolate and real liquorice is good for you – but not too much 🙂 . Read on to find out why you should go to the dark side now and again.
The Dark Side of Health: Why Chocolate?
Chocolate is health food. Hurrah you say – but think about this: It is the cocoa that your healthy side needs — not the added sugars, fats or colouring. The darker the better as white chocolate has no cocoa in it, only fat and cream. Go to the dark side and boost your health with quality high cocoa content chocolate. Here is why you need it:
- Dark chocolate makes us feel good — and this is not only because it’s delicious but because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
- Medical research shows that chocolate with 70% (or more) cocoa prevents artery clogging. This is great for heart and stroke health as circulation is improved.
- Chocolate is a source for minerals like potassium, zinc and selenium. A 100g bar of dark (70 per cent or more) chocolate provides 67 per cent of the RDA of iron.
- Contrary to belief – chocolate reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and increases the good ones.
- Chocolate is great for your diet.
Yes really! According to an article in the Telegraph: ‘Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good choc melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.‘
- Chocolate is especially good for older adults as the flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss. In addition, the anti-inflammatory qualities are used to treat brain injuries such as concussion.
Overall, the dark side of health is great when eaten in small quantities. Dark chocolate is best if you opt for quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content of 70% or more.
As much as you might want to eat a whole bar a day – the medically recommended amount is 40 gram per day. Because chocolate contains fats and sugar, nutritionists tend to tell you that a max of 1-2 squares (30 g) is best. Overindulgence has a price for humans, but for dogs chocolate can be lethal so never ever give a dog chocolate!
The point is that the dark side of health is melting deliciousness, and good for you – if you choose high quality dark chocolate. Just after Easter is the time to explore this amazing superfood — as the prices are lower, and chocolate looks ever so much prettier too.
The Dark Side of Health: Why Liquorice?
Liquorice is a dark friend which requires some thought before diving into. Most liquorice sold in the US and UK has no real liquorice root in it. Liquorice candy may be dark in colour, but contains lots of sugar and food colouring – which is not good for your health, except that it boosts your energy.
Liquorice root has been used as a medical herb from as far back as 500 BC. Liquorice was the preferred traditional remedy for ulcers, hepatitis C, constipation, cough, blood sugar disorder, shin disease and also used as a laxative.
While alternative medicine has hailed liquorice for its medicinal benefits, the scientific community is still on the sidelines and has yet to prove its health benefits as strongly as it has for dark chocolate.
Real liquorice should be consumed in small doses to give health benefits (see below for health risks). If you stay within the recommended 30 mg/ml of glycyrrizic acid (the liquorice extract in the root) you can boost your health:
- Liquorice root can repair the stomach lining as it contains anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.
- Your respiratory system will benefit as liquorice promotes the production of healthy mucus. It may sound counter intuitive to increase phlegm to a healthy bronchial system, but actually the production of clean, new phlegm keeps the respirator system working as the old, sticky clogging kind is done away with.
- For a stressed person, liquorice root is especially good. The adrenal gland gets exhausted form the content work of producing adrenaline and cortisol – i.e. what stress brings out. The adrenal gland get stimulated and balanced by liquorice, which in turn promotes a healthier level.
- Liquorice has been used as a weight loss aid. Eating 3.5 grams of liquorice extract per day for 2 months is said to reduce body fat significantly. It is important to remember that this does not apply to liquorice candy, which is loaded with added sugar.
- In China liquorice root has been incorporated in cancer treatments (breast and prostate) as it is said to aid. The scientific community in the US and Europe is syringe the effects of liquorice root on cancers but has yet to release any findings.
- If you have bad teeth / tooth decay the holistic health practitioners will recommend a liquorice treatment.
- Topical gels that contain liquorice is highly recommended to reduce eczema due to its antibacterial treatment.
It is worth mentioning that some people should avoid liquorice altogether, as it can produce unwanted side effects if your intake is more than 30 mg/ml of glycyrrizic acid (the liquorice extract in the root) per week.
Liquorice root has health risks documented and you had better avoid real liquorice if you have an irregular heat beat, high blood pressure, or currently pregnant or breast-feeding.
The Dark Side of Health: A Little A Lot?
All good things come in small portions. This is certainly the case for both dark chocolate and liquorice. Overindulgence has a price.
With liquorice this is especially true, as too much really isn’t good for you. Dark chocolate eaten in excess will result in too much sugar with all that this means, and liquorice can give you runny tummy and worse (see above links).
However – a little is very, very good. Stick to 30 g of dark chocolate per day, and / or 30 mg/ml of liquorice per week if you want to stay health well-thy.
Eating in the colour of the rainbow is what keeps you on your best path to a healthy active life. This includes monochrome superfoods like dark chocolate and real liquorice – but only in small, delicious doses. Indulgence is allowed and recommended 🙂
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