Chocolate…

It’s Easter, and there is more chocolate in every aisle of the supermarket than ever before. So, if your naturopath is going to give you permission to have some chocolate over the Easter weekend, what is least likely to be bad for you, and most likely to have some redeeming features?

Dark chocolate!

Beyond the delicious taste and its mood-enhancing qualities, dark chocolate consisting of 80%+ cocoa content. has a role to play in a healthy balanced diet. Numerous studies support the evidence that cocoa, the natural source of chocolate, has many benefits that it warrants daily inclusion in our diets. As an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc chromium, manganese and copper, iron, antioxidants, phytochemicals and flavonoids – some of its many health benefits include:

  • Influencing mood and stress reduction
  • Boosting brain power and cognitive function
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti- Inflammatory
  • Reducing blood stickiness
  • Improved health health and blood pressure
  • Alleviating PMS
  • Appetite suppressant

Much research focuses on the antioxidants found in raw cocoa beans, known as oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) or flavanols. Flavonols can help lower inflammation, improve blood flow and improve elasticity of the arteries. To get these benefits, it is necessary to eat dark chocolate with a cocoa content of more than 70%.

The problem with eating dark chocolate for health benefits is that it also has a high sugar content, so that any benefit from the cocoa is likely to be outweighed by the high level of calories in just a tiny amount.

Luckily only a small amount of dark chocolate is capable of producing leptin, which is the hormone which tells your brain that you have reached satiety, or are full. So eating a small piece of dark chocolate before a meal may help you to eat less, or stop cravings between meals.

In a 100gram bar of 70-85% dark chocolate, there is nearly 46g of carbohydrates, of which 11g is dietary fibre. There is also 43g of fat, and 8g of protein. On a nutrient level, is contains 11.9mg of iron which doesn’t sound like much, but that is 92% of a required daily intake (RDI). It is also high in magnesium at 228mg, or 64% of RDI. All that goodness, and “only” 647 calories…
So, if you want to consume a dark Lindt bunny, savour it, sit down, eat with enjoyment and feel no guilt for the delight of good chocolate. But remember that the World Health Organisation recommends eating less than 25g of sugar per day, and you’ve just blown that in one delicious bunny…

Happy Easter folks!

Eve Armytage
Revive Your Health
31 March 2018

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