Raw chocolate: the latest superfood
1. So it turns out that chocolate can in fact count towards one of your five a day. Who knew?
Whilst such claims are still in the fairly early days of research, what we do know for sure is that raw chocolate is free from refined sugar and dairy, and packed full of antioxidants and flavonoids. The bean, or nib of the bean, is presented in its natural state – not cooked, overprocessed or mixed with a vat of cheap filler ingredients.
What sets raw chocolate apart is the very fact that the cocoa beans are no longer roasted, but are instead left outdoors to dry naturally. This lack of exposure to oven temperatures allows the preservation of nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and vitamin C, in a similar way to uncooked vegetables.
The resulting raw chocolate, also known as cacao, is a very complex foodstuff with more than 300 chemically identifiable compounds, and is said to be significantly richer in antioxidant flavanols than green tea, red wine or even açaí berries.
Making conventional chocolate is complicated. The cacao beans have to be picked before being fermented, roasted, ground down, pressed, mixed with fat and sugar, and turned into bars and other sweets – thus using a lot of energy in the process. The other good news about raw chocolate is that, not only does it have health benefits, but since production of raw chocolate is far less energy intensive than making normal chocolate, it’s good news for the environment too.
The taste and experience of cacao is more intensely chocolaty, so you need less to satisfy you – just a small nibble; a bite-sized chunk to satiate those cravings.
So with a nutritional profile that even dark chocolate can’t compete with, isn’t it time you went raw?
Harvey Nichols Foodmarkets stock an array of raw chocolate bites, including the iQ Choc Original Bean-to-Bar (479419), a variety of Conscious Chocolate organic bars such as Goji & Coconut (467944) and Wild At Heart (467946), and inSpiral Chocolatey Superfood Bites (480245). Pop into your nearest store to purchase, or call +44 (0)207 201 8088 to order.
An insatiable desire for all things cheesy, creamy, and carby may be the sign of a serious health problem.
Q: Why do I crave comfort food more in the winter?
A: Seasonal changes in food cravings are a good example of the tight link between food and our hormones and emotions. If you notice a marked changed in your levels of desire for baked macaroni and cheese (No. 1 comfort food) as the weather turns colder and darker, it could be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
This condition is characterized by increased anxiety, oversleeping, lethargy, and problems concentrating. Since comfort foods are generally high in fat and carbs, they can increase serotonin production and thus feelings of wellbeing, making them a natural pick for anyone feeling low.
See your doctor, and if it turns out you do have SAD, try some of these treatments to deal with your wintertime blues instead of heading to the kitchen.
Improvement in blood levels of the “sunshine” vitamin is associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms. I recommend that you get your vitamin D levels checked (this is a simple blood test that your physician should have no problem approving for you), and then supplement with vitamin D according to your test results. If you want to skip the blood test, you can start taking 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin D each day, as this dosage is shown to be safe. I would caution against supplementing with higher levels, however, without having a blood test done.
This involves sitting in front of a light box, which simulates natural light, for a predetermined period of time each day. For the most effective treatment, you should look directly into the light box light. As with most things, start out slow with 10- to 15-minute sessions, and work up to longer sessions depending on the severity of your symptoms.
It doesn’t get much easier than a walk outdoors. One study in Denmark found that going for a stroll outside was as effective as light therapy for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. And there’s no substituting nature photos on your laptop for time spent taking in real nature: In a review of research looking at the impact of nature versus technologically simulated nature (for example, nature scenes projected on HDTVs), researchers found that technologically simulated nature is as effective at improving mood and wellbeing as staring at a brick wall, but a real window to nature improves wellbeing and reduces stress.
3. Hooray for the Cabinet she-reshuffle!!! Expect power dressed women and getting the job done. This is a brilliant strike for women everywhere, all ye women-folk that will be working together and looking great! We are expecting great things.
4. Wow them all in this ‘Is she isn’t she’ number…Trust @LaurenPope to provide the dazzle factor, love her style! If you cannot find it then ask the ‘mavens of stylista’ @styleonscreen
5. Kale and superfoods on your nails! So if you cannot bear the thought of ingesting kale try painting it on…the nail varnish range is apparently packed with leafy green superfoods which is said to
- stimulate advanced keratin production
- Also hydrates and nourishes as it’s absorbed by the nail
#There’s no excuses now!!
Have an inspired weekend, be fabulous!