5 Ways Chocolate Is Healthy For Your Body & MindBy Tone It Up on
There are a million reasons to love chocolate, and we’re here to give you a few more! Besides its delicious taste, chocolate actually packs a ton of health perks. As part of your Lean, Clean, ‘N Green lifestyle, treating yourself to chocolate can actually be amazing for your body and mind. So sweet, right?! We’re breaking down chocolate’s incredible wellness benefits, plus our favorite ways to enjoy it.
Chocolate’s sweet health perks:
Packed with antioxidants
Dark chocolate is loaded with compounds like polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, which act as antioxidants in the body. They can help lower inflammation, fight free radical damage, and protect you from illness. In fact, a study showed that dark chocolate has more antioxidant activity than fruits like blueberries and acai.
You know how chocolate makes you feel happy?! There’s a science-backed reason for that! Dark chocolate contains both serotonin and l-tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that regulates mood. When your serotonin levels are up, you feel calmer, happier, and more focused. Chocolate also contains a neurotransmitter called anandamide, which bonds to receptors in the brain that impact mood.
Enhances brain health
Eating dark chocolate may improve blood flow to the brain and enhance cognitive abilities over time. Cocoa also contains caffeine and theobromine, compounds that can give your brain a boost and help you focus in the short term.
Protects heart health
Chocolate is not only good for your head — it’s good for your heart, too! Research shows that dark chocolate may help reduce “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin resistance — all important markers for heart health. One study showed that eating dark chocolate 5 times a week lowered the risk of heart disease by up to 57%.
Takes your workouts up a notch
A study in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that small amounts of dark chocolate can improve oxygen availability during workouts thanks to flavanols called epicatechins. This will enhance your stamina while you crush your TIU workouts!
Our favorite ways to satisfy your sweet tooth:
- 2 squares of dark chocolate: Go for at least 75 - 85% dark chocolate. This type contains the most antioxidants and other healthy compounds.
- Yogurt with cocoa nibs and berries: This is amazing for an easy breakfast or after-dinner treat.
- Strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate: Need we say more? ;)
- Double Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies: In addition to all the perks of chocolate, these soft-baked cookies also provide 10 grams of plant-based protein to fuel you and keep you satisfied. Hot tip: Put them in the microwave for a few seconds to make them extra gooey and delicious!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars: Refuel post-workout with chocolate…YES! These plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO bars pack 10 grams of protein, which helps your body recover and form new lean muscle.
- Chocolate Protein Powder: Use this delicious powder, which has 15 grams of plant-based protein, to whip up smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and more.
Check out these chocolate-y recipes:
Choco Berry Smoothie Bowl
Makes 2 servings
2 scoops Chocolate Tone It Up Protein
- 2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 4 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice (or 1 frozen banana, sliced)
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- Cacao nibs
- Chia seeds
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Mix all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add optional toppings and enjoy!
Chocolate Protein Donuts
Makes 12 donuts (serving size is 1 donut)
1/2 cup Chocolate Tone It Up Protein
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Coconut oil spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients and optional dark chocolate chips to the bowl and mix until combined.
- Spray donut tin with coconut oil and scoop batter into each one.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Choose your fave of these optional toppings!
- Coconut glaze: 1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil + 2 Tbsp. organic powdered sugar
- Pomegranate glaze: 2 Tbsp. organic powdered sugar + 1 Tbsp. pomegranate powder + 2 Tbsp. almond milk
- Matcha glaze: 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut yogurt + 1 tsp. matcha
- Melted peanut butter or almond butter drizzle
- Melted dark chocolate drizzle
- Dark chocolate chips
- Cinnamon sprinkled on top
Ready to stock up on chocolate? We’ve got you!