As we celebrate Easter this month I thought it might be a prudent time to offer a review of the dark stuff. No, I don’t mean the dark-web that is selling loo roll for a tenner a sheet – I mean the dark stuff that many of us will be unwrapping on Easter Sunday; chocolate.
Did you know that chocolate was so prized with the Mayan and Aztecs that cacao seeds were used as a form of currency and in fact the cocoa bean literally means ‘food of the gods’?
Well, there might be something in that title as good quality chocolate; 70% cocoa plus, or the raw crunchy cocoa nibs actually do offer some health benefits. Such as:
· Antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols help fight free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. The higher the percentage of cocoa – the greater the antioxidants – so read your labels folks!
· Flavonols may help reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and make blood less sticky and able to clot. They may benefit conditions associated with reduced blood flow to the brain, one study of the elderly that looked at consumption of flavonols (in dark chocolate, tea and red wine) indicated improved cognitive function.
· Dark chocolate contains healthy fats. Specifically, cocoa butter is primarily saturated and monounsaturated fat.
· The essential amino acids may increase levels of serotonin, our happy hormone, which can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.
Remember it is an extra, not a staple and keep your portion size to a couple of squares. Start by getting familiar with your labels and cocoa percentage – this really matters as the milk and white chocolate offers nothing but a sugar rush. Pairing it with protein such as nuts or a slither of cheese – to manage the sugar peak. Cocoa nibs are delish in yoghurt, on top of a smoothie or salad.
Aside from the 70-90% Lindt and Green and Blacks available everywhere, my top buys are;
Wanting to better understand your relationship with food? Why not book a complementary health review with Pam today; 07916 688281.
As seen in the Pershore Times.