Confession time… I love my coffee (can’t get going without it) and I am also rather partial to dark chocolate.
Imagine my delight then when I read an article in the Telegraph confirming research we’d seen and applied – that both have health benefits – chiefly brain health benefits at that.
We’ve long advised our clients to swap desserts for a square of high cocoa content dark choclate, as it satisfies the sweet tooth craving, and the hight cocoa content make it hard to eat more than a couple of squares (for most people!) in one go due the richness, it’s also lower in sugar and calories than milk chocolate.
The high cocoa content also means the chocolate is high in flavonoids which have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, improve memory and may even enhance neuroplasticity (our brain’s ability to form new pathways and structures).
Aim for over 70% cocoa solids – we generally go for 85%, anything over 90% tends to be a bit dry on the palate.
The good news on coffee is that research has shown that regular moderate consumptions seems to boost short term thinking skills and protect the decline of the brain over the longer term, with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
It’s thought that the phenylindanes in coffee may inhibit the production of neurodegenerative particles, so help protect the brain. These compounds are formed during roasting, so dark roasts are best but only 3 to 4 cups a day.
We advise clients to have a cup of black coffee or green tea before fasted HIIT because studies have shown that caffeine enhances the mobilization of fatty acids during aerobic exercise, promoting fat loss.
Fat loss, brain protection and coffee tastes great. Result!What’s your favourite chocolate currently?