Dark chocolate is good for you

Do you need an excuse to eat chocolate?

Probably not, but I’m going to give you one anyway!

Good quality, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (sadly, not your Cadbury’s Dairy Milk) is packed with antioxidant phytonutrients, is said to improve your mood and is powerfully anti-inflammatory.

I’ve been teaching women this and how to create their own nutritionally powered chocolate since my first retreat back in November 2017, and now it seems many health professionals are cottoning on too. Michael Mosley recently presented a radio show all about the benefits and Dr Chatterjee has been talking to people about it on Instagram recently too.

As with most things like this, there are some important points to bear in mind.

It’s the dark stuff not the milky stuff that’s good for you.

The higher the percentage of cocoa solids the better.

Most of the milk chocolate we buy off the shelf here in the UK is highly refined with sugar, milk and other additives chucked in. So, sadly eating vast amounts of milk chocolate isn’t recommended. White chocolate fans might also be disappointed to hear that there are no cocoa solids at all in the white stuff, in fact, it’s almost pure sugar!

If you’re looking to get a health benefit along with your chocolate hit, then go for higher percentage cocoa solids.

Cocoa or cacao?

Cacao is inherently healthy, but the processes it undergoes and the ingredients added to it are often not.

Cacao is full of mineral and antioxidant micronutrients – it’s the presence of these that cause dark chocolate to taste bitter. The extraction and production of cacao products tend to use processing techniques and temperatures that keep the nutrients intact. On average it also contains around 20% more protein than cocoa powder.

Cocoa on the other hand, is roasted and sterilised during the processing to make it less bitter, which also vastly reduces the nutritional value.

Choosing cacao over cocoa also has an ethical implication. Choosing companies that work with small suppliers and cooperatives helps to ensure that the manufacturing process remains sustainable and that farmers are paid fairly. Try to look out for ‘single origin’ and smaller brands that you have researched beforehand.

Even better, create a full body experience by making it yourself!

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction you get from making chocolate.

Not only does it taste incredible and you feel super chuffed with yourself for having made it, but it also ensures that you are eating the very best quality chocolate you can eat. Ask any of the women who have been on retreat with me and learned how to make it or who have used my chocolate making kit and video tutorial to create it at home. There really is no more fun, indulgent, mindful and surprisingly simple thing to do in the kitchen.

There you go – lots of good reasons to enjoy good quality chocolate!

To check out The Mindful Cook chocolate making kit and video tutorial, take a look here.

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