With Easter upon us, and chocolate eggs galore it seems, I thought this blog post would be a timely one to share this week.
I actually get asked this question quite a bit, and it is one definitely worth exploring.
So my basic answer to whether chocolate is good for our health or not, is yes. BUT…it depends on what kind of chocolate.
The typical Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate or the chocolate that comes in the form of bars like Mars and Snickers, are NOT good for you. They are basically laden with refined sugar and dairy and other not-so-healthy chemicals, preservatives and additives.
When I think of (and eat and enjoy!) chocolate, what I am referring to is the stuff with just 3-4 ingredients- cacao, cacao butter, natural sweetener and maybe a spice or essential oil flavouring.
The cacao content should also be a high dark chocolate of 75% or above.
If you eat a square or two of this real chocolate, then you can be rest assured that what you are eating is pretty healthy. You will also find that 1-2 squares will probably satisfy your chocolate craving just right.
Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every week has been linked to health benefits such as a reduction in the risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, lower bad LDL cholesterol and a reduction in cardiovascular risk.
Dark chocolate also has inflammation fighting properties. Other studies have also found that regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes.
Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavonoids. And because chocolate is so enjoyable to eat, I helps reduce stress. It also has the power to make you feel loved-up and happy from the phenethylamine (PEA) it contains. Known as the “love drug”, PEA is one of many chemicals associated with feelings of love, excitement, focus and attention
So by now I should have convinced you that chocolate is something you can and should indulge in, but you might be wondering which chocolates I recommend.
As a self -confessed chocolate lover I have a few faves 😀
- The chocolate I eat the most is Big Tree Farms Wonder Chocolate. Not only because it tastes amazing, is raw and organic, 73% dark and sweetened using coconut nectar, but also because it comes in perfect single serve sizings of 30grams. And I always also have heaps of these bars on-hand because I supply Wonder Chocolate to Jakarta folks and have boxes of it at home all the time (talk about dangerous for a chocolate lover!). There are two delicious flavours too- 73% dark and 73% dark with cacao nibs and sea salt.
- Because it is easy to get here in Jakarta, the dark chocolate I usually eat is Lindt 85% Cocoa. It does contain refined sugar, but the quantity is low, so I feel like a square or two of this when a craving hits is ok, especially as my lifestyle is really healthy otherwise.
- it is not so easy to get in Jakarta, but I really love Pana Chocolate which is raw, organic and handmade- everything good chocolate should be. This is one of those things I bring back from Australia with me on visits, or have friends bring when they come stay (alas, it never lasts long!)
- Another gourmet chocolate brand which is available from specialty shops here is Alter Eco. They have lots of delicious flavours and combinations that are super tasty. I’ve tried Dark Blackout and Dark Quinoa and really enjoyed them!
- When I can get my hands on Loving Earth chocolate I am a very happy lady. My fave flavor of this brand is Caramel– OMG it is soooo yum!
- A recent discovery is Concscious Organic Raw Chocolate which has to be purchased online from Indonesia. This product is all handmade and so divine. The essential orange flavour is simply morish.
- A local Indonesian brand that I should mention is Monggo, although these chocolates contain a lot of refined sugar and the darkest you can get is 58% cacao, so this is the least healthy of the brands I have listed here.
- I also love to make my own raw chocolate, which is much easier than you might imagine. I use Big Tree Farms cacao butter, coconut nectar and cacao powder, all melted together and put into moulds to set. You can add in nuts, superfoods such as maca, and even essential oils as flavor. Easy, delicious and cheaper than importing some of the brands from above. Contact me if you are in Jakarta and want to purchase any of these chocolatier ingredients from me!
So the crux of this post is to emphasise that yes, you CAN have your chocolate and your health too. Just go for quality over quantity and make your chocolate indulgence a treat to savour. Yummo!
- What is your favourite kind of dark chocolate? Have you ever tried making your own? Please do share!