Chocolate is good for you!
If you're looking forward to tucking into lots of yummy choice this weekend, we thought we would share some insider nutrition tips to help you indulge guilt free!
Yes, most chocolate means added sugar, but opting for dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa means a whole lot less and plenty of health benefits, and if you've ever tried 'raw cacao' then even better. The difference between cocoa and cacao (easily confused) is that cocoa beans are roasted at high temperatures while cacao is cold-pressed, retaining more enzymes and protecting the overall nutrient content.
Chocolate boasts a wealth of vitamins including A, B1, C, D and E as well as iron, calcium, fibre, and minerals including magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium. The most powerful nutrient in chocolate comes from 'flavanols' which have antioxidant effects; however these are reduced after lots of processing so raw cacao is your number one for maximum bang for your nutritional buck, but if you can't get hold of any, dark chocolate is your friend.
Research has shown that flavanols in dark chocolate can reduce LDL cholesterol, improve elasticity of blood vessels and promote circulation.
reduce stress & boost mood
Chocolate contains a compound called 'theobromine', helping us to feel relaxed and content, as well as postively impacting levels of alertness, focus and energy. It has also been shown to reduce levels of our stress hormone – cortisol.
improve brain function
Flavanols have been shown to reach the hippocampus, protecting areas linked to learning and memory.
Compounds in chocolate have similar effects to prebiotics and probiotics as they are fermented by healthy gut bacteria.
Packed full of antioxidants, studies have shown that chocolate can boost skin moisture and protect skin from the damaging UVB rays in sunlight, helping to reduce the effects of ageing.
Always opt for dark chocolate if you can and go steady in the evenings as chocolate contains caffeine, so if you're particularly sensitive you're better off enjoying those Easter eggs earlier in the day.