Chocolate comes from plants, so it must be healthy, right? Wrong… it depends on what else is in the chocolate, and how close it is to the natural product. Choose the least processed chocolate, with the least milk solids, emulsifiers and added sugar. Chocolate is high in fat and sugar, so eat it in moderation.
Choose chocolate with the highest cocoa content, as cocoa is very high in flavanoids and in its powdered state is virtually calorie free. Add cocoa powder to smoothies or yoghurt. If you do have chocolate, have at least 70% dark chocolate as it contains twice as much antioxidants as milk chocolate.
Chocolate does have some other benefits if eaten in moderation
Dark Chocolate has been shown to help to prevent heart disease and cancer
Dark Chocolate improves mood by boosting the brains serotonin levels
Chocolate is made up of about 300 chemicals, some which may have mood altering effects. (Phenyethylamine is said to simulate the feeling of falling in love).
Chocolate contains a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals. (A B1 C D E)
Chocolate contains flavonoids which may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer while slowing the ageing process.
If you must eat Chocolate, here are some tips for controlling your cravings and indulgences:
Dark is best. Research has shown that the benefits of Chocolate comes from the dark type more than the milk type
Eat your chocolate with a nutrient rich food, like strawberries dipped in chocolate
Buy smaller sizes, this will stop you over indulging
Order fruit for dessert with a small chocolate treat on the side so it is not your main treat
Savor, sit down and take your time and enjoy.
And no dribbling please!