Archives for posts with tag: anti-oxidant

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I have some good news. Chocolate is good for you. Hurrah!

This doesn’t mean you can go to the shop, stock up on all your favourite chocolate bars and munch your way through them. Chocolate itself (cocoa) is good for you, but what’s added to it is generally bad: refined sugar, preservatives, emulsifiers, flavourings, vegetable fat, whey powder…etc. etc. All of these ingredients plus cocoa might make something that tastes nice, but they don’t do you any favours.

How to enjoy chocolate the healthy way:

You can enjoy chocolate and feel good about it if you find the right stuff. The higher the cocoa content the better because cocoa is packed with antioxidants. It is also high in magnesium: headaches, fatigue, low energy, disrupted sleep, PMS and even cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency. These symptoms might be all too familiar, especially if you’re a woman. Hormones have an impact on levels of magnesium in your body so your magnesium levels might drop around the time of your menstruation every month, which is why you start craving chocolate.

So I think we’re all agreed: we want chocolate; we need chocolate; chocolate is good for us. But how can we get our antioxidants and magnesium without loading sugar, additives and unhealthy fats down us? Here are a few ideas:

  • Only eat dark chocolate and look for the stuff that’s 70% cocoa solids or higher;
  • Check the ingredients. There will still sugar added to most chocolate you buy but the less sugar and fewer ingredients, the better;
  • Cook with or flavour your food with pure, unsweetened cocoa powder;
  • Check these cocoa wafers out from one of my favourite websites: www.changinghabits.com.au.

And now for my top tip of the day: buy yourself some cocoa nibs.

If you want to get all the benefits of chocolate without any sugar at all, you need to get cocoa nibs. I’ve recently discovered them and I think I’m addicted.

Cocoa nibs are cocoa beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken into smaller pieces. For an excellent explanation of all the health benefits of eating cocoa nibs (and there are a lot more than I’ve touched on here), see here.

I’ve only just begun to experiment with cocoa nibs, but here are a few ways to enjoy them:

  • Stir them into your porridge for added crunch;
  • Yogurt, blueberries and cocoa nibs with a bit of organic honey makes an amazing pudding;
  • Bake with them. I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve seen some recipes where you can use cocoa nibs instead of/alongside chocolate chips;
  • Mix cocoa nibs with nuts and sultanas for a healthy snack to pick at throughout the day. The cocoa nibs themselves can be quite bitter when eaten on their own, but as soon as you add the sweetness of a sultana they’re delicious.
  • Add them to ice-cream. OK, so this is a bit of a naughty one but I only did it once and it was a real treat. It inspired me to find some clean eating ice-cream recipes like this one.

Happy chocolate eating, gang. x

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I started my day off today with a lovely, cleansing ginger and clove drink. My mum swears by it and it’s actually this drink that inspired the title of my blog.

How to make it:

Boil the kettle. Chop up some ginger and pop it into a mug. Add 6-8 cloves. Pour in the boiled water. Top it up with boiled water throughout the day. Easy!

I added a squeeze of fresh lime this morning. Lemon works well too, and if you add a spoonful of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon you’ve got yourself a delicious ‘hot toddy’, as my mum likes to call it.

Why it’s good for you?

Aside from tasting good, there are many health benefits to eating ginger and cloves regularly.

You only have to google ‘health benefits’ of either of these amazing spices and you’ll find loads of blogs and websites explaining just how healthy they are, so I won’t go into too many details here. But briefly:

Ginger is great for minor ailments like sickness and heartburn, and coughs and colds. It is also known to be an anti-inflammatory so it could help people with osteoarthritis, and it is even thought to provide protection against cancer. The article here on www.naturalsociety.com is very informative and interesting, especially the bit about ginger’s cancer fighting abilities:

“The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found out through their research that ginger can also destroy ovarian cancer cells. What’s more, they found that ginger triggered two types of cell death – apoptosis and autophagy. “Apoptosis…results from cancer cells essentially committing suicide.”

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/benefits-of-ginger/#ixzz2JfUZe53J

Cloves are rich in antioxidants and like ginger they help fight infections, and relieve digestive problems and arthritis pain. They also have antiseptic qualities that are great for the immune system and for maintaining dental health. Have a look at this article on www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com for more information.

I’ll be testing out some recipes using these ‘super spices’ and sharing them if they’re good. If you have any good recipes, please share. x