Chocolate is good for you! Hurrah!
But wait….before you stampede to the corner shop…there are rules!
All chocolate is not created equal….you have to choose carefully and indulge sparingly….dammit!
It’s most definitely not Dairy Milk that’s getting the big thumbs up here. Milk chocolate is full of sugar, is heavily processed and the milk deactivates the antioxidants that gives cocoa it’s health credentials…..so sadly (cue the violins!) we should avoid it.
However! A small amount of good quality dark chocolate, with as high a cocoa percentage as possible has significant health benefits and will (hopefully) kill off any cravings you have for the sugary sweet stuff.
I know, I know! It’s not everyone’s favourite….but give it a chance and your palate will adjust to the deeper flavours. I’m obsessed with my entitlement to something sweet for pudding (no, an apple does not, and never will count as pudding!) A small amount of cocoa rich chocolate, when I really can’t resist something ‘naughty’ after a meal, is enough to move my ass away from the fridge.
Why dark chocolate?
-It contains flavonoids….these are powerful antioxidants.
-It decreases bad cholesterol (thanks to the beneficial fatty acids found in it)
-The risk of blot clots is reduced
-Increases blood flow around the arteries and heart
-Mood booster (this we know!)
-Tests have shown it can help with cognitive function (helpful when you are clueless how many reps of…I’m sorry which exercise again?!)
-It contains minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Copper.
-8x more antioxidants than strawberries.
Dark chocolate has little or no added sugar and the rich, intense flavour means you don’t need a lot to get a satisfying fix. Small portions are key….just a couple of squares…..but take your time over them, really taste the complex flavours instead of wolfing them down.
Choose good quality and preferably organic dark chocolate and make sure it is made without hydrogenated fats. The darker the better…the things that make the chocolate good for you add colour.
How to fit dark chocolate into a healthy diet
-Melt it and dip fruit in it….it’ll last longer and the sweetness of the strawberries or banana will counteract any bitterness.
-A couple of squares for ‘pudding’
-Cocoa nibs added to porridge
-Grate your precious squares….a satisfying pile of chocolate shavings can be eaten bit by bit or sprinkled on greek yoghurt.