Chocolate can relieve inflammation.
Did you know that dark chocolate is ‘choc-olate’ full of antioxidants and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties?
Inflammation can lead to a number of health issues, like sore muscles, headaches and even more serious diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis. While some inflammation in the body is good because it helps to ward off infection, having too much is dangerous. This is where chocolate’s flavonoids come into play because they provide antioxidant benefits.
“Chocolate is choc-olate full of antioxidants”
These same flavonoids can modulate intestinal micro biota, thus triggering the growth of good gut bacteria, which supports anti-inflammation in the intestine. How so? Certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds.
“The precise reason for the health benefits of dark chocolate: mystery solved” study by The American Chemical Society has confirmed that those bacteria break down some specific components contained in cocoa, called polyphenols. These molecules are too big to be absorbed into the blood, but gut bacteria break them down into smaller chemicals that can pass to the blood. These chemicals have the property of reducing inflammation in cardiovascular tissues.
In other words, the good gut microbes feast on chocolate, ferment it and produce anti-inflammatory compounds.
A quick note on what lectins are doing to your gut.
Lectins are thought to damage the lining of the small intestine and cause gut-disruptive effects, interfere with nutrient digestion and absorption, and stimulate shifts in the bacterial flora.
So while lectins are working to destroy your micro biome, eating dark chocolate triggers the growth of good bacteria, which in turn are very beneficial to your micro biota and health in general.
That’s great news, especially for all you chocolate (dark chocolate) lovers, like me! I enjoyeating dark chocolate more than milk chocolate and I really enjoy when chocolate is paired with coconut, like in my lectin-free coconut chocolate bar recipe below. These bars are scrumptousy delicious!
LECTIN-FREE COCONUT CHOCOLATE BARS
Quick and easy make your own Bounty-like coconut chocolate bars.
- 200 grams (7 oz.) of dried, unsweetened and unsulphured shredded coconut
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) of full-fat coconut milk (use hardened coconut cream sitting on top of liquid)
- 200 grams (7 oz.) of 72% dark chocolate
- Sea salt
- Step 1 Thoroughly mix together the shredded coconut and coconut milk until combined.
- Step 2 Shape the mixture into small 2 ½ by 1” bars and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The bars should hold together. Add 1 tbsp. of shredded coconut or 1 tsp. of coconut milk at a time until your bars hold their shape.
- Step 3 Freeze for 15-20 minutes to harden the bars.
- Step 4 While the bars are hardening in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a small heat-proof bowl over a small pot brought to a simmer.
- Step 5 Once the chocolate has melted, dip each bar into the chocolate and arrange on a cooling rack. Alternatively, you could arrange the bars on a cooling rack and carefully pour the heated chocolate over each one. Ensure that you have a pan or parchment paper beneath the cooling rack.
- Step 6 Allow bars to set for a few minutes.
Note: These chocolate bars are sugar-free, which is “sweet” enough for me. Feel free to add 1/4 of monk sugar to the coconut mixture.