Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 21, 2012

Why You Should Eat and Drink High-Cacao Dark Chocolate

By Mark Sisson
502 Comments

Yes, I know, I know. That title isn’t exactly comforting. I hate giving you guys bad news, seeing as how you make this website possible, and I hate making unpopular recommendations like “eat more butter” or “get some sun” or “drink a glass of red wine,” but I have to stick to the truth here, even if it hurts. And the truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on a semi-regular basis because the stuff is pretty dang good for you. Before you log out, never to return again, give me a minute to explain myself:

You were kids once. Your parents probably forced you to finish your overcooked, mushy, bland veggies or wash your hands and finish your homework – or some other routine unpleasantry – “for your own good,” and that’s what I’m doing here. Dark chocolate is healthy. It may be awful, terrible, and disgusting, but it contains some really good things that have some remarkable effects on various markers of health. So, yeah, eat your chocolate. Finish your raw cacao powder. Choke down that homemade hot chocolate. Hold your noses if you have to, but get it down and done.

I’m kidding, of course. There’s no arm twisting required when it comes to chocolate. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the Primal community can suck down some high quality dark chocolate. Don’t think I didn’t see how quickly that chocolate disappeared at last year’s PrimalCon. And why wouldn’t it? Dark chocolate’s great, the perfect storm of flavor, flavonoids, and fat. It tastes really good, comes loaded with polyphenols, and cocoa butter is a great source of saturated and monounsaturated fat. High-cacao dark chocolate, then, is quite literally a healthy candy bar. What’s not to love?

I’ve discussed my favorite dark chocolate in the past. I’ve even provided chocolate-choosing tips. But until today, I’ve never really explained why we should be including high-cacao dark chocolate in our diets. I’ve never explicitly outlined the myriad health benefits that cacao offers. Well, let’s get to it, shall we?

Dark chocolate contains healthy fats.

Cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean and incorporated into most reputable dark chocolate bars, is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat. And because most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, widely known for having neutral effects on LDL, even avowed lipophobes can happily and heartily gobble up cacao fat.

Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols.

When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry and whatever else your annoying friend who always falls for multilevel marketing schemes is hawking this week. The most studied polyphenol in cacao is epicatechin, a flavanol. Although last week’s post on the benefits of polyphenol consumption centered on pigment-derived antioxidants, cacao’s polyphenols are also quite potent and potentially healthful.

What happens when the rubber hits the road, though? Or, somewhat more literally, what happens when the square of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate melts on the tongue, is swallowed, digested, and incorporated into the body? What are the actual health benefits of consuming high-cacao content dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate and blood pressure.

Epidemiological studies pretty consistently show that dark chocolate consumption is related to lower blood pressure readings. In Jordan, among Kuna Indians living in Panama, among pregnant women, and among elderly Dutch, this holds true. That’s all well and good, but it’s just an association. We need controlled studies:

One found that fifteen days of eating dark chocolate, but not white chocolate, lowered blood pressure (and improved insulin sensitivity) in healthy subjects. The main difference between white and dark chocolate is the polyphenol content; both types contain cocoa fat. Cocoa consumption also improved arterial flow in smokers.

Some studies suggest that the flavonoids are key. In one, flavanol-rich dark chocolate consumption improved endothelial function while increasing plasma levels of flavanols (which indicates the flavanols had something to do with it). Another study used flavanol-rich cocoa to increase nitric oxide production in healthy humans, thus inducing vasodilation and improving endothelial function. In another, the highest dose of cacao flavanoids caused the biggest drop in blood pressure. Still another found that while dark chocolate did not reduce blood pressure, improve lipids, nor reduce oxidative stress, it did improve coronary circulation.

Or maybe it’s the soluble fiber. In “spontaneously hypertensive” rats, cacao-derived soluble fiber lowered blood pressure, perhaps by reducing weight gain.

It’s probably both, in my opinion, although the polyphenols undoubtedly contribute more to the cause than the five grams or so of soluble fiber you’ll get in the average serving of dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate and cardiovascular disease.

You’ve heard of the cholesterol-fed rabbit; how about the cocoa-fed rabbit? If the former is an effective vehicle to study the negative effects of poor lipid clearance, the latter is a testament to the inhibitory effects of cocoa polyphenols on lipid peroxidation. We also have similar findings in rodents. Feeding hypercholesterolemic and normocholesterolemic rats polyphenol-rich “cocoa fiber” (defatted, sugar-free chocolate, basically) reduced markers of lipid peroxidation in both groups (PDF). It also seems to work quite well in test tubes.

In humans, both with normal and elevated cholesterol levels, eating cocoa powder mixed with hot water lowered oxidized LDL and ApoB (LDL particle number, which, if you remember my post on lipid panels, you want to lower) counts while increasing HDL. All three doses of high-flavanol cocoa powder – 13, 19.5, and 26 g/day – proved beneficial. If you’re wondering, 26 grams of powder is about a quarter cup. It also works if you drink it with milk (and no, Hershey’s syrup doesn’t work the same).

Given the effects of chocolate on lipid peroxidation, we can probably surmise that it will also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. And indeed, epidemiological studies suggest that this is the case. In a sample of over 2200 patients (PDF), chocolate consumption was inversely associated with progression of atherosclerotic plaque (determined by calcium scoring). What’s incredible is that the association held for chocolate in general, and I don’t think it’s likely that everyone was consuming 100% raw cacao powder brimming with polyphenols. A study from this year from the same group got similar results: chocolate consumption was inversely associated with prevalent cardiovascular disease.

While most cacao research focuses on vascular function and heart disease risk, there are other, less intensively-studied benefits. Here are a few of them:

Dark chocolate and insulin resistance.

For fifteen days, hypertensive, glucose-intolerant patients received either 100 daily grams of high-polyphenol dark chocolate or 100 daily grams of zero-polyphenol white chocolate. Diets were isocaloric, and nothing differed between the groups besides the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate improved beta cell function, lowered blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved endothelial function, while white chocolate did none of those things.

Dark chocolate and fatty liver.

Rats with fatty liver evince higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, but cocoa supplementation partially attenuated these pathological changes – even in choline-deficient rats. While cocoa wasn’t enough to fully resolve fatty liver, the researchers concluded that cocoa may be of therapeutic benefit in “less severe” forms of fatty liver.

Dark chocolate and UV damage.

Resistance to UV damage is commonly measured by MED – minimal erythema dose. A higher MED means greater resistance to UV rays, while a lower MED indicates lower resistance. High MED, good. Low MED, bad. One study found that feeding high levels of dark chocolate to healthy people over twelve weeks doubled their MED; feeding low levels of dark chocolate had no effect on the MED.

Similarly, another study found that a high-flavanol-from-cacao group had greater resistance to a given UV dosage than a low-flavanol-from-cacao group (who actually saw no benefit at all) over a six and twelve-week period.

Those interested in a fairly comprehensive compendium of chocolate research can check it out here. I tried to stick to in vivo research, but there’s more theoretical stuff out there too.

Seeing as how most of chocolate’s benefits stem from the polyphenol content, and most of the studies that saw large effects used “high-flavanol” dark chocolate, you should be gunning for chocolate with high polyphenol counts. Dutch processed, or alkalized, chocolate lightens the color, removes some of the bitter compounds, and gives it a milder taste. Awesome for Hershey’s Kisses, but awful for the flavanol content. Those “bitter compounds,” you see, are the flavanols. Without the bitterness (which I think of as complexity), you’re missing most of the beneficial polyphenols. It might taste good, but it won’t perform all of the aforementioned physiological tasks. To quantify the extent of the degradation, check out the results of this study on the flavanol contents of cacao powders subjected to various degrees of alkalization:

  • Natural – 34.6 mg/g
  • Lightly processed – 13.8 mg/g
  • Medium processed – 7.8 mg/g
  • Heavily processed – 3.9 mg/g

Once you’ve got a lead on some good chocolate with high cacao and lower sugar levels, eat a few squares a sitting. Exercise restraint, however, as it is still candy and it shouldn’t make up a large block of calories. Treat it like a condiment, or even a medicinal adjunct to an otherwise solid diet. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, avoid chocolate too close to bedtime.

If you get your hands on some high quality cacao powder (raw – which is actually fermented – or roasted, but never Dutch processed), try making coconut cacao milk. Mix half a (BPA-free) can or carton of coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of cacao powder. Heat on the stove until almost simmering. Add sweetener to taste and, if you’re adventurous, a bit of cayenne, cinnamon, and turmeric. Enjoy!

Anyway, that’s it for today. I think I’ve presented the case for high-cacao dark chocolate – not that you were exactly a tough crowd or anything! Thanks for reading and be sure to give your thoughts – including quality sources and recommended methods of ingestion – in the comment section!

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502 Comments on "Why You Should Eat and Drink High-Cacao Dark Chocolate"

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Abel James
4 years 7 months ago

As if anyone needed more excuses to eat chocolate! 🙂

Becca
4 years 7 months ago

haha, agreed! 🙂

Burn
4 years 7 months ago

took the words right outta my mouth!

Steve
Steve
3 years 7 months ago

Put your shirt on already

Lotus
Lotus
1 year 10 months ago

I can’t fine anywhere on the chocolate bar where it shows how much polyphenol it contains?????

Mary
Mary
11 months 29 days ago

Go with Santa Barbara Chocolate. 100% Dark and Organic. Great to just eat, make candy, or use as I do to make my heart happy–also works as an internal “sunscreen.” Prices are pretty good for 3lbs and at retailmenot.com get coupon! Go Primal/Paleo ;o)

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 7 months ago

After reading this, I feel so good about my dark chocolate hot chocolate indulgence last night.

We have a number of chocolate shoppes in our area and it is such a hardship to have to taste test my way through them. 🙂

Stevemid
Stevemid
4 years 7 months ago

*sigh* if I must…

peggy
peggy
4 years 7 months ago

I ? your avatar 🙂

Jasmina
Jasmina
4 years 7 months ago

Ahahaha!! Me too!!

Mark Pieciak
Mark Pieciak
4 years 7 months ago

Time to go to my local health food store and get some supar-dark chocolate! :]

Paul Alexander
4 years 7 months ago

Chocolate for everyone please!

Gabriel
Gabriel
4 years 7 months ago

With the amount of chocolate I consume, I could be the healthiest person on the earth 🙂

Anne
4 years 7 months ago

Divine 70% dark chocolate. Organic, fair trade, and fabulous. The End.

Kim
Kim
4 years 7 months ago

The small bar of Divine 70% only has about 12 g carbs.

Tim Huntley
4 years 7 months ago

My daily afternoon snack is 2 squares 100% cacao and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Take a small bite of cacao and a small bite of coconut oil.

…Tim

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Before I tasted 99% cacao I would put a drop or 2 of honey on a 100% cacao square. I’ve never tried coconut oil on a 100% cacao square but I am sure it is divine!

Tim Huntley
4 years 7 months ago

For some reason, the coconut oil seems to add a slight hint of sweetness, just enough to make it work and not taste bitter.

Becca
4 years 7 months ago

gonna have to give this a try!

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

Wow. That’s hardcore.

Tim Huntley
4 years 7 months ago

It seems normal to me at this point 🙂

peggy
peggy
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve been making “cocoa” with hot water, coconut oil, KG butter, & cocoa powder…

Emily
Emily
4 years 7 months ago

How much do you use of each? This sounds wonderful 🙂

oxide
oxide
4 years 7 months ago

Bulletproof hot cocoa FTW!!

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
12 ounces boiling water
Flavoring (Optional: cinnamon OR vanilla extract OR mint extract)
Stevia (optional)

The key is to whizz it with a handblender, food processor, or quick whisking until it foams.

Doug
Doug
4 years 7 months ago

Sounds good. I’ll have to try that.

Alina
Alina
4 years 1 month ago

Oxide,
When you use the hand blender do you use the attachment with the blade or the whisk?
Thank you.

Phillip Minton, M.D.
4 years 2 months ago

Here is something new for me to try. Thanks for the idea!

My favorite daily snack is high quality dark chocolate with fruit or berries. Quick, satisfying, delicious and healthy!

Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
4 years 7 months ago

God eats chocolate for sure.

tess
tess
4 years 7 months ago

for years i’ve been making a “chocolate tonic” for cold drinking, of 1 t. of cocoa per cup of water, with a smidge of sea-salt, brought to a simmer and allowed to cool. recently, i’ve been experimenting with making it into a water-kefir (no sweetener added), and it shows promise….

Michelle
4 years 7 months ago

I am a big advocate of dark chocolate. High quality dark chocolate is good for you and tastes great. I think there is no better way to satisfy your craving for sweets. Of course, moderation is the key.

Kristyan
4 years 7 months ago

*sigh* Ah… the Primal Life. Just too good.

Ariana
4 years 7 months ago

Seriously! That is exactly how I feel. Yesterday, we were told it’s perfectly fine to drink coffee before workouts. Bacon is unlimited. Now, this. I may actually die of happiness instead of some degenerative disease.

jane britton
jane britton
4 years 7 months ago

I so agree, diet? what diet? OMG I love this way of life, Ive never felt more alive, more fulfilled and less hungry OR looked so good. I eat 85% dark chocolate daily, and with a red wine it totally rocks.

Jan J
Jan J
4 years 7 months ago

I’m buying an 85%cacao bar from Trader Joes. It’s Colombian chocolate and contains cocoa mass, sugar, soy lecithin, natural vanilla. One small square has a minimal amount of sugar, some fiber and about 20calories. That’s a snack for me midday, so I have time to manage the sugar effect. My question is: is that a “good” kind of chocolate to have? Does the cocoa/cacao have high acrylamide content?

Love that dark chocolate makes the primal cut!

Tim
Tim
4 years 7 months ago

I like the 80%. I would like to try 85% but I can’t find it. The PCC by my house only carries up to 70%. I have to travel all the way to Metropolitan Market to get the good stuff.
When I die I’ll be able to tell heaven form hell by weather there is any dark chocolate and red wine.

Andy
Andy
4 years 7 months ago

Try looking online. I recently took delivery of 20 bars of 85% Dark Chocolate from Amazon.

Shauna
Shauna
4 years 2 months ago

Does your store have an organic section? That’s where I found my current dark chocolate. I can get 72% and 88% pretty consistently, and I recently found some 85%.

Barbara
Barbara
4 years 7 months ago

90% Lindt for me….not organic unfortunately but it makes me positively squirm with delight every time I taste it.

conrack
conrack
4 years 7 months ago

I like to have a piece of dark chocolate with my butter coffee.

SpyderInFlames
SpyderInFlames
4 years 7 months ago

Amen, sister. I just found that on the shelves, and bought two bars, which have lasted for three weeks, now.

I think it’s time to up my chocolate intake!

Christoph Dollis
3 years 10 months ago

Hear, hear! I was just about to type much the same, with my Lindt 90% in arms reach.

emina
emina
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah it’s Lindts 99% for me. I recently tried out Green& Black’s(funny I found it here in Germany) and I was amazed at the taste and texture. Mmmmmmhh <3

Sad thing is, it disappeared from the Store 🙁

MadMav
MadMav
4 years 7 months ago

I like my 90% cacao with a dab of almond butter

Primal Texas
4 years 7 months ago

I’ll second that.

mark
mark
4 years 7 months ago

The bomb: Fair trade, organic, pure. Even use cane sugar!
http://shop.altereco-usa.com/Chocolate/c/AlterEco@Chocolate

Carrie
Carrie
4 years 7 months ago

So as far as Cocoa Powder goes, your recommendation is either Raw or Roasted Powder, are there specific brands that you reccomend?

Mike Lieberman
4 years 7 months ago

Def get my chocolate in and do my best to get fair trade too. There is a supplier at my farmers market that I buy some. Love it!

Justin
Justin
4 years 7 months ago
Diane
Diane
4 years 7 months ago

Endangered Species 88% Extreme Dark is my favorite. It doesn’t seem to have an odd aftertaste I find in most of the really dark chocolates.

And with a glass of great red wine! What a great dessert!

trackback

[…] The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate | Mark’s Daily Apple. […]

Suzanne
Suzanne
4 years 7 months ago

Ahhhh… music to my ears. =)

But, has anyone here ever had a problem with chocolate, or certain brands of chocolate, causing skin break-outs? Or being more or less “addictive” than some other brand? I love very dark chocolate but haven’t been able to figure out if it’s something I have to stay away from entirely (woe is me!) or if there’s some way around those problems. Any thoughts?

Anna
Anna
4 years 7 months ago

i always (and by that i mean, since going primal) figured that the chocolate addictions, acne and sleeplessness of yore (and dire warnings from my mother) were down to high sugar and additives. i’d say self-experiment to be sure personally. hard to do it blind but you do the best you can.

Immaterial
Immaterial
1 year 5 months ago

I always find that if I have the truly dark chocolate (85% minimum – my preference is Lindt 90% dark), then I get my chocolate hit in about 2 squares, and don’t overdo it.

I’m a recovering sugar addict and a totally-not-recovering-at-all chocolate addict, and I think the sugar in the less dark versions is what causes all the problems.

Your mileage may vary, though – if even the really dark stuff has bad side effects for you, maybe best not to push it.

Good luck!

Hardy
Hardy
4 years 7 months ago

I had 90% Lindt dissolving on my tongue as I opened my browser to find this great news!!

Any Canadians may find that Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has a great 91% bar. Seems smoother than the Lindt, I hope it isn’t because they use overly processed ingredients…

Steve B
Steve B
4 years 7 months ago

Will I get the same health benefits from dissolving some Hershy’s unsweetened cocao powder in hot water as I would from ah 85% cocao dark chocolate bar?

Dr. Mike Tremba
4 years 7 months ago

Hershey’s milk chocolate for me- 3 candy bars a day (just kidding!)
Seriously, though, I once experimented with dark chocolate and my blood pressure (which if I’m not careful, can run high)-within 2 weeks of daily dark chocolate, my systolic went down noticeably.
That being said, I wasn’t aware to the extent you wrote about, of some of the other benefits chocolate has. Thanks for the great article, Mark!

Sebastien
Sebastien
4 years 7 months ago

Dark chocolate is far from sounding like a punishment to me! I like 85% – 90% since a long time before even switching to Primal.

Primal life is definitely so good!

Laura, RD, LDN
Laura, RD, LDN
4 years 7 months ago

Well thank goodness for this right?! I already eat a few squares of Green & Black’s 85% cocoa dark organic chocolate most days. The stuff just makes you happy. Plus I usually enjoy it with a glass of red wine, extra happy 😉

ymm
4 years 7 months ago

Chocolate mixed with milk is tasty, but I have one problem with that. I’ve tried it twice, where I mixed some of the 100% cocoa with milk and drank it. Both times, within a short period of time, I felt really sleepy, and I went to sleep for like 13 hours, and I’m sure it was because of the chocolate. Does anyone know if this is normal?

Sharon
Sharon
4 years 7 months ago

Sounds like it is normal for you.

SpyderInFlames
SpyderInFlames
4 years 7 months ago

It sounds to me like you got a good shot of endorphins from the chocolate concoction. That’s a good thing! I just had a cup myself, and feel sleep stealing over me as I type.

Meagan
4 years 7 months ago

You are right on Mark! I’ve been enjoying raw cocoa in ALL it’s forms. It makes a great hot cocoa.

My (current) favorite:
16oz mug + green tea bag
pour half full w/ boiling water
steep 2 minutes
add 1 Tbsp raw cacoa powder
add spices like cayenne + cinnamon
add pinch sea salt + tiny bit of vanilla
plain + vanilla stevia to taste
stir
press tea bag and remove
pour in some raw whole milk (or coconut milk)
fill mug with remainder hot water

Meagan
4 years 7 months ago

And we shall not forget avocado – cacoa powder – banana pudding!!

Richard
Richard
4 years 7 months ago

I keep a continuous supply of avocado cocoa power pudding. I used to use banana, but now prefer to add coconut milk and some stevia. Works well with egg or whey protein powder.

Jody
Jody
4 years 7 months ago

How do you make avocado, cocoa powder, banana pudding???

Brad
Brad
4 years 6 months ago

One thing I don’t get. The paleo crowd jumps all over the phytate anti-nutrient subject with regards to seeds/grains but cocoa powder is loaded with phytates, right? What gives?

Ed
Ed
4 years 7 months ago

I like the 88% dark that has the picture of the panther on it. Can’t remember the brand, but it’s at the local grocery store in the organic section.

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

That’s fair trade dark chocolate, isn’t it! 🙂

Ed
Ed
4 years 7 months ago

I found it. It’s “Endangered Species” brand. 10% of profits go to help “species planet and humanity”.

Look at the difference in sugar content of 70% vs 88 or 90%. It’s huge.

wolfwoman1st
wolfwoman1st
4 years 7 months ago

Endangered Species’ 72% with cacao nibs – divine!! It’s the one with the bat on the label 🙂

Dragonfly
Dragonfly
4 years 7 months ago

The brand is “Endangered Species”. My favorite also. Next is the 99% at World Market.

Jo
4 years 7 months ago

I was loving the World Mkt 99% until I brought home a supply & discovered they had been mislabeled – hard to tell the exact percentage from tasting, but my guess was I’d been sold 70%. They took it all back but I am gun-shy & now order Dagoba 100% 6-oz baking bars from Amazon. Great Stuff!! Tried some of the sunspire 100% baking but found it too bitter.

Carlos
Carlos
4 years 5 months ago

How did you find out it was mislabeled? That’s the chocolate I eat everyday 🙁

Rewind
Rewind
4 years 7 months ago

Dr. Oz had a show recently where his guest recommended dark chocolate to increase sex drive. I keep leaving bars of it around the house for the Missus to discover…

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

Would you email my husband and suggest that to him?

JackieVB
JackieVB
4 years 7 months ago

Grate some dark chocolate on whole fat Greek yogurt, sprinkle on some toasted almonds(a pinch of celtic sea salt) add some strawberries and you’ve got pure healthy decadence 🙂

primalblonde
primalblonde
4 years 7 months ago

That sounds absolutely amazing.

trackback

[…] down that homemade hot chocolate. Hold your noses if you have to, but get it down and done.   Read More […]

dave
dave
4 years 7 months ago

For a little extra. I’ve actually mixed up to 1:1 coconut milk and very neutral bone broth with a bit of cocoa(sweetening spices like cinammon, vanilla, etc). but if you make your broth with meaty bones don’t try this at home. The meat flavor is too strong.

carol
carol
4 years 7 months ago

Okay, I set my jaw and read through your whole post…before I allowed myself to go to the pantry for a Lindt 90% bar. It was tough!

I like that variety because it doesn’t contain the soy lecithin and I can afford it. I really found inspiration in the drink variations discussed. I’ve recently started honey and cinnamon plus coconut oil in my morning coffee. I’m thinking a spoonful of chocolate added might be nice.

Thanks for the blessing, Mark!

lorraine
lorraine
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve made my own Mounds bar… Melt said dark chocolate in a bowl with some CO. When melted stir in unsweetened coconut flakes. I put that in the freezer. When solid I break into pieces I keep in a bag in the freezer. Can’t get better then that!

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 7 months ago

oh that’s heavenly! i have to try it!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Have a batch in the fridge now, thanks! 🙂

dave
dave
4 years 7 months ago

Taza has some good bar/tablets. Grainy, rustic texture and berry overtones. Their dark choc almonds, and chips are good too. no lecithin either.

Many of the more common brands availible in stores are pretty earthy(read: dirt).

Try tasting it like wine there are definite layers of flavors, textures,mouth feel.

My sis swears by Amadei cru and finds Scharfenberger a little heavy handed and overpowering in its berry tones. side note: Sharfenberger is owned by Hershey’s and started adding Soy Lecithin in all of their bars.

Jenny W
Jenny W
4 years 7 months ago

Wonderful stuff. Only problem is that as coeliacs, we have to make sure our chocolate isn’t contaminated with wheat. So far, we have proved (the hard way) that Lindt and Tesco’s own are safe. Any other recommendations for England?

Sian
4 years 7 months ago

Try the Co-op 85% Ghanaian – very nice. Packaging says it may contain gluten, nuts & wheat – but guess they have to cover themselves.

gwhitney
gwhitney
4 years 7 months ago

Try ordering from Ocado – these brands are great: Pralus, Cluizel and Valrhona.

Chris
Chris
4 years 7 months ago

I have eaten even small amounts of organic 85% dark chocolate and it gave me what appeared to be insomnia like effects. This does not occur all the time however… but it has happened. Either I am crazy or I am having a reaction to the caffeine or theobromine in the chocolate. It could be some other strange reason for all that I know.

Perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 7 months ago

chocolate can keep you awake- it does have those stimulants in it. each person is sensitive to a different degree.

cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago
Cancerclasses to the rescue! and Dave Asprey, @bulletproofexec dot com too for another possibility: “I’ve sampled high-end chocolate from around the world and finally settled on Lindt 90% dark chocolate as my preferred source. The reason is that Lindt has European standards for mold levels in chocolate, so the chocolate is surprisingly smooth and sweet for a chocolate that dark, and it’s lower in toxins than typical chocolate. In fact, many people who are “allergic” to chocolate are just responding to the naturally occurring toxins in cheap chocolate.” Also: “One of the reasons the Bulletproof Diet is different from a… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago
More from Dave re chocolate: “I recommend European chocolates because the mold standards in Europe are better than in the US. Lindt is the most consistently mold-free in my experience, and it’s affordable and widely available at most grocery stores. But even so, about 20% of the batches of Lindt I try seem to have mycotoxin problems. I can tell because a) I’m hyper-trained to be aware of my mental and physical state and b) I used to live in a house with toxic mold, so my immune system is primed to respond quickly. You should buy a bar of… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago

And a tiny bit more:
“I highly recommend you store opened chocolate in the freezer or fridge, as the mold will continue to grow on opened bars of chocolate that sit out overnight.

I’ve researched ways to test chocolate for mold at home, and there isn’t a viable way to do it, yet. Give me some time and I’ll solve that too!”

Chris
Chris
4 years 7 months ago

Huh, that is interesting, because I am allergic to mold.

That would explain quite a bit…

Thanks!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Yes! I have tested allergic to chocolate – but am also allergic to molds. Like you, I was heavily exposed to mold and became sensitized and observant.

I find that Lindt 85% and 90% cause me few problems – if I eat small amounts – 1 to 2 squares – and not every day. I store them in the freezer in a freezer bag. An open package stays in the fridge chill drawer, carefully closed.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I’m caffeine sensitive and tend to be careful about chocolate in the PM.

Ruth
Ruth
4 years 7 months ago

Has anyone tried Crio Bru yet? it’s roasted cacao beans that you grind and step in a french press. I want to try it, maybe mixing some good coffee and the cacao, but I haven’t bought any yet…

Debra
4 years 7 months ago

I’ll gladly take this advice! Definitely no arm twisting needed. Your recipe for cacao coconut milk sounds divine!

Nancy S
Nancy S
4 years 7 months ago

Mm, dark chocolate. You mention homemade hot chocolate (drinking chocolate?) in the article — have you got any recipes for said drink? 😀

Nik
Nik
4 years 7 months ago

I just made this….

1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 of an 1/8 tsp of cayenne
same amount of tumeric and cardamom
about a 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Simmer on the stovetop… it is amazing

Jake
Jake
4 years 7 months ago

sorta piggybacking yesterdays post about coffee pre workout, i’ve also found that having a bit of raw cacao powder with coffee to be a very good pre workout stimulant. i think it has something to do with the increase in production of nitric oxide which induces vasodilation.

gbeeson
gbeeson
4 years 6 months ago

espresso + cacao powder + fine ground cinnamon powder for my preworkout stimulant and it works the charm. Careful with the cinnamon powder for obvious reasons!

JimPurdy.blogspot.com
4 years 7 months ago

Peanut M-and-Ms must be the perfect health food!
🙂

trackback
4 years 7 months ago

[…] There is no sacrificing on Primal!!! Have a sweet tooth? Than indulge in a little bit of HEALTHY dark chocolate! […]

Rob Horton
Rob Horton
4 years 7 months ago

Anybody have recipes for good hot chocolate with dark chocolate?

Big T
Big T
4 years 7 months ago

Be careful that you don’t eat too much dark chocolate if you get cold sores (herpes simplex 1). Cocoa is high in L-Arginine, which makes the herpes virus thrive.

cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago
Largly disproved as a myth, see “Antiviral effect of arginine against herpes simplex virus type 1” International Journal of Molecular Medicine, April 2009 Volume 23 Number 4 “We investigated the effects of arginine on the multiplication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the potential of arginine as an antiherpetic agent. Arginine suppressed the growth of HSV-1 concentration-dependently. Inhibition of HSV-1 by arginine leveled off at 50-60 mM, although the higher concentration was not suitable as an antiviral agent due to cytotoxicity. ‘Time of addition’ experiments revealed that arginine was particularly effective when added within 6 h post-infection (h… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago
HSV 1 & 2 are in a class known as “lipid enveloped virii” which can be destroyed by the monolaurin content in coconut oil. Before, or in addition to, taking Aciclovir or other pharmaceuticals I think I’d seriously consider increasing my dietary intake and topical use of organic coconut oil. It can also be used as a “lubricant” and it’s antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties make it effective in treating candidiasis & yeast infections. “Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza (including… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 7 months ago

Link for above: http://goo.gl/DMtw0

Jo
Jo
4 years 7 months ago

My new favorite and EASY primal dessert: Dried figs, dipped in some melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.

Cat
Cat
4 years 7 months ago

Wow- I remember finding packages of homemade dark chocolate covered figs outside of the train station in Rome in 1989. Me and my friend ate several packages of them during our stay there – they were cheap and relatively healthy. I hadn’t thought of it in years – I am so going to make some as soon as I buy dried figs. Sea salt must send them over the top. Yum!

Rio
Rio
4 years 7 months ago

Yuuum! that sounds amazing!

Margie
Margie
4 years 7 months ago

Dear Mark, I read, or scan most of the blogs you write. I enjoy them and appreciate all the time you take to write them. They are inspiring to give more reason to continue to eat this way, and I love to learn more about it from you.
And…I am a nurse and it has made it so much easier to just say no, to all the donuts, bagels, cookies and cake items that end up in the kitchen at work, and that is a very good thing.

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