Who can resist the feeling of that block of silky chocolate melting in your mouth as you swirl it with your tongue and indulge in the moment. Imagine the next time you eat a piece of chocolate; you may not have to feel overly guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are health benefits associated with this delicious treat…especially Dark Chocolate.
Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds and its earliest use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica. After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular in the wider world, and its demand exploded. Chocolate has since become an incredibly popular food product that millions indulge in every day, thanks to its unique, rich and sweet taste.
3 Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fibre and has minerals like iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.
2. Ever heard of a measure called ORAC?
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Basically, researchers stack a bunch of free radicals (bad) against a sample of food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can “disarm” them.
The biological relevance of this metric is questioned, because it’s done in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body. However, I think it is worth mentioning that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring foods that have been tested. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others. These are all good for you!
There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease.
3. Lower sugar in dark chocolate means less impact on weight and blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate is thus ideal for a diabetic and someone on a kilojoule controlled plan. It is about enjoying the 2-3 blocks as they melt in your mouth. Paired with a good cup of coffee after dinner can be a great treat!
This doesn’t mean you should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It still has calories and is easy to overeat on. Instead, have a square or two after dinner and try to really savor them. You need to choose QUALITY stuff… organic, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.
As a dietitian I strive to make healthy living easy, practical and tasty for my clients. Planning in some chocolate is definitely something I love to do. It makes life so much more Fun! As you have read so many times in my blogs – it is about a lifestyle change. Feeling deprived does not help anyone feel positive about their healthy lifestyle journey. We thus help you make the better choices.
Easy Health Wellness is launching a sugar free chocolate, sweets & jellies range at the clinic. The range is both SUGAR and GLUTEN free. They contain Stevia (sugar substitute from the stevia plant) or Maltitol (sugar alcohol lower in calories). Excessive consumption can cause diarrhoea/ cramps so the idea is to enjoy small amounts at a time. Good habits, not over indulging.
Great for adults and kids!
We are having a Sugar Free chocolate tasting event on 7-8 July. Tickets are available on our website www.easyhealthwellness.com
For your convenience – The range will be available for purchase on our online shop after the launch.