Chocolate is good for you! Isn’t hearing that just like a (Wispa) dream? That lovely soft, smooth delight that melts on your tongue and makes you feel instantly better. It almost seems magic as it can seem to take your cares away in an instant.
Bursting your (Aero) bubble slightly …
Not all chocolate is good for you, in fact most isn’t. The mainstream chocolate bars might contain a bit of goodness but it’s all outweighed by the amount of sugar and sometimes artificial ingredients in it.
Next time you see a chocolate bar you like, read the label on the back. You’ll see the percentage of cocoa there and it’s usually pretty low, which means that the bar is filled with other ingredients to make it taste nice. By adding lots of sugar, it not only tastes nice but becomes addictive too.
Why is dark chocolate so good for you?
The transition from everyday cheap chocolate to the sophisticated stuff will have many health benefits for you.
Dark chocolate is packed with essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium. Selenium helps us to feel good. Magnesium has many benefits, which include help with muscle cramps and energy creation Who wouldn’t want more energy?
In the blog post Magnesium for Muscle Cramps we compare how much dark chocolate you would need to eat to match the daily dose found in a supplement. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium the take the daily supplement and have the chocolate as an extra ‘Boost’.
Dark chocolate releases PEA (phenylethylamine). It’s the same chemical, which is released when you fall in love, it’s like you’re actually falling in love with the chocolate (cool eh?). PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins, so you feel good! A real Bounty eh?
Let’s get sophisticated here – (Smartie pants)
The chocolate that’s filled with all the goodness is the posh stuff.
You can get more sophisticated and a lot more expensive than what’s in the supermarket. Our challenge here is to live well and have more energy, not to become world chocolate experts, although it does sound quite an exciting thing to get involved with.
In the supermarket look for the plain dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa content. You’ll find these in Lindt and Green and Blacks in most, if not all UK supermarkets. Waitrose sell Willie’s Cacao which is also very nice. Use the 70% as a starting point as this may not be an easy transition from ‘junk chocolate’.
There is a wealth of information on Willie’s website, he’s so passionate about his product and about the ethical sourcing and farming.
How to eat dark chocolate
Make sure it’s After Eight O’clock. Wearing your posh silky nightie, as if you’re in a Galaxy advert, learn to love and appreciate the real taste of dark chocolate. Keep practising, and keep increasing it to 85%, then 90%, and if you can manage it, you could even go to 100% cocoa. That’s a bar of chocolate containing 100% cocoa, nothing else!
There is a very useful guide here from Willie on how to store and eat dark chocolate. He says “Tasting chocolate is an art. It is a complex business because there are at least 400 chocolate flavour notes”.
I LOVE dark chocolate, but I can go only go up to 90% with the Lindt. Hotel Chocolat on the other hand it’s a different matter. You can spend a lot of time and money in there (and I speak from experience) choosing and comparing 100% bars. You can even learn about where and how it’s been grown. If you find an assistant who is also passionate about dark chocolate and wants to feed you samples, then that’s your afternoon sorted!
If you visit Hotel Chocolat’s website you can read all about their cocoa estate in St Lucia.
Be careful of the Munchies – too much of a good thing
As with most things, there’s a tipping point where too much of a good thing becomes, well, not so good. The dark chocolate bars mentioned here are high in fat. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the fat. You do need to watch how much you’re eating. One gorgeous piece a day would be plenty, or two at a push.
If you have your period and you feel like you need more then go ahead, but don’t make it a regular habit.
One more thing to mention is that luxury dark chocolate contains caffeine. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, then don’t eat this in the evening. Caffeine is something that should be avoided when dealing with fatigue but one piece of quality dark chocolate in the daytime is usually okay for most people.
Cause a Ripple, make it Count(ers) and give it a Twirl.
It’s more of a project than an overnight change. The transition can be a bit daunting but see how you get on. It is a healthy transition away from the sugar laden junk chocolate bars but do go carefully and try to stick to just one piece a day.
Did we name your favourite chocolate bar? How many could you count?
Leave us a chocolatey reply …
As always, I hope this has been helpful for you.
Sending you lots of love
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