Most of us love chocolate. People go to it for comfort when they’re feeling down or stressed, as a treat or just for a quick sugar boost. A lot of us think of it as a naughty treat but we are hearing more and more about the benefits of good quality dark chocolate recently and it’s certainly one that is Nutritional Therapists recommend to clients.
Milk and white chocolate are less beneficial as they are very high in sugar and contain a much lower cocoa content. Cocoa is the powder made from cacao seeds and the cacao is the stuff that holds the benefits for us. Raw cacao is sold as a health food everywhere at the moment. The best chocolate is dark, minimum 60% cocoa content, the higher the cocoa content the better.
Here are a few of the benefits of dark chocolate:
Minerals – dark chocolate is high in some great minerals such as iron and magnesium. Magnesium particularly is important for relaxation and one in which many people are deficient, particularly when stressed.
Antioxidants – dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants which help eliminate free radicals that can cause damage to cells in the body.
Blood pressure – dark chocolate can help improve blood flow meaning it is good for the brain as well as the heart.
Serotonin – dark chocolate may enhance the action of neurotransmitters such as serotonin meaning that it can help with your mood.
The main message from this is that a little bit of dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa the better) is the best option for chocolate and may even do you some good.
With this in mind, to celebrate the end of National Chocolate Week I’m eating some delicious chocolate that I brought back from Brazil recently. Handmade from cacao grown in the town where I was staying – delicious!