It’s no secret that I love chocolate … because I have something sweet every single night, dark chocolate is often in the rotation. It tastes so decadent, a little goes a long way, and it’s a great way to treat myself! (picture source)
Luckily for me given my treat of choice, chocolate has some pretty awesome health benefits:
- The flavonols in chocolate can lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, lower inflammation, and lower your risk of heart disease!
- In fact, in a 9-year study, women who ate 2 servings of dark chocolate per week cut their risk of heart disease by up to a third!
- Those with high-anxiety who ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day for 2 weeks had noticeably lowered anxiety levels!
- An Oxford study showed that those who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea regularly had better test scores and lowered prevalence of poor cognitive performance!
- A Swedish study found a link between chocolate consumption and 20% lowered risk of stroke! (picture source)
I could go on and on … there are TONS of benefits, and these studies showed real results. Basically, it comes down to the fact that cocoa beans are loaded with antioxidants (the same powerful compounds that make fruits and veggies so good for you!). In fact, a serving of pure dark chocolate has even more antioxidants than a serving of acai juice, which is often called a “superfood” for its antioxidant content.
However … before you rush off to consume every morsel of chocolate in sight, let me put things into perspective a bit.
- First, in all these studies, benefits were observed, but it was not proven that chocolate CAUSED the benefits.
- Second, any benefits are great, but they’re likely on a small scale … just having a bite of chocolate every night will not make you Superman or Superwoman. (Bummer!)
- Third, like so many things, moderation is key – chocolate can be part of a healthy diet, but you can’t consume 10 chocolate bars per day and call yourself healthy!
- Finally, MOST commercially prepared chocolate is LOADED with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and all kinds of artificial ingredients.
And that brings me to my next point! A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the Marketing Director of a small mom-and-pop company called Nelly’s Energy Truffle Bars. She said that the company was producing a line of 100% organic, vegan, gluten-free, superfood chocolate bars. The bars are handmade in small batches, and are made using fair-trade ingredients, sustainable farming practices, and ethical treatment of people and animals. The Energy Truffle Bars are made with nutrient-dense ingredients that I can recognize, and have no preservatives, artificial flavorings, or high fructose corn syrup.
WOW! I think my email to Kevin telling him about this was something like “this company sounds like my version of heaven!!” I was so excited to try the Energy Truffle Bars that I had my mom check my house for the delivery multiple times since I was out of town for work. (Thanks, Mom!) I was very excited when I finally arrived to see this cute package of 6 Energy Truffle Bars.
They were delicious!! I loved the combination of flavors that Nelly’s selected, and opening each one was a special surprise! If I had to choose just one, it would be a tough decision between the double chocolate and the mint chlorella, both of which tasted pure, rich, and decadent. But the coconut was also a favorite of mine because it was so refreshing and different. What I really liked was that these tasted like “real food,” not like processed junk. And I could feel good about eating them as a treat, because I knew the quality of the ingredients was high.
Of course, the tougher taste tester in the house was the Reese’s devotee himself, and I’m not surprised when he said it didn’t taste like the “real thing.” He liked the mint chlorella the most by far, and his second choice was the peanut butter. He wasn’t a fan of the texture of the coconut bar.
So how can YOU get in on the action? Well, if you’re in Southern California, you can find Nelly’s at Whole Foods, Lassen’s, and some health food stores. For the rest of us, you can check out Nelly’s Energy Truffle Bars on Facebook, on their website, or on their Kickstarter page (they are currently trying to raise money so they can expand distribution, because they do EVERYTHING by hand right now!
Or, you can enter my giveaway! Two lucky winners will each receive 3 Energy Truffle Bars, mailed directly from California in a climate-controlled box. All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter plug-in below (you have not entered until you’ve clicked the green +1 buttons!). Giveaway will be open until Tuesday 10/15/13 at 11:59pm CT, and I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday’s post. Due to the need for refrigeration, this giveaway is open to U.S. recipients only – sorry!
(Although I have previously been the one reaching out to companies, Nelly’s contacted me directly and offered me 6 Energy Truffle Bars, plus 6 to give away to you, for free. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. I actually chose to donate a very small portion of my own money to their campaign, since I like supporting start-up businesses whose mission I believe in!)
So tell me in the comments … Which flavor sounds best to you? How do you “treat yourself”?