Chocolate. It’s the ultimate sweet treat. But it’s easy to go overboard if it’s right there in front of you. We don’t want to go without it & we don’t think you should have to either, so what if we told you that you could have your chocolate & eat it too? It’s about knowing what to look for & choosing better options, that way you won’t miss out on any of the benefits that can come with getting your chocolate fix.
Not all chocolate is created equal
There are so many different types of chocolate out there now - dark, milk, white, and everything in between, not to mention cocoa, cacao, nibs, cacao butter. We’re exhausted just listing them. So what’s best & what do you look for?
In a nutshell - dark chocolate with a high % of cacao (70%+), minimal processing, no added nasties and perhaps even a claim such as ‘high in antioxidants’ and the amount of flavonoids listed in the nutritional information.
Why is dark chocolate better?
Compared to its milk and white counterparts, dark chocolate is generally lower in sugar, has a higher concentration of antioxidants and has been shown to do some great things for your health. Yes, there are some brilliant health benefits to eating dark chocolate.
What are the health benefits?
- Dark chocolate is antioxidant-rich and particularly high in flavonoids and polyphenols, which help your body combat free radicals. It’s better than red wine in this respect (but we support your decision to have a bit of both to maximise your free radical fighting abilities).
- Good for heart health. Studies have shown that the flavanols in dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain & heart.
- Helps protect your skin. Those flavonoids we mentioned can also help protect your skin from sun-induced damage, but we still recommend you slip slop slap when heading out.
- It’s mineral rich. This is a good one to note, dark chocolate is full of minerals like potassium, zinc, selenium and iron that our bodies need to function at their best.
- Boosts your mood. This is due to the phenylethylamine (PEA) that dark chocolate contains. PEA is the chemical that your brain releases when you’re falling in love and encourages your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins make you happy, so what’s not to love!
We could go on, but we think you get the picture.
Don’t give it up
You know which chocolate to choose, and why dark chocolate is good for you, but how can you get your chocolate fix without sabotaging yourself by eating the not-so-good stuff?
We recommend having some of the good stuff on hand. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to miss out, and often a little goes a long way with dark chocolate.
Some of our favourite snacks to have instead of that bag of milk chocolate eggs
- Cocoa Brownie Power Balls
- Cocoa & Peanut Butter Smoothie Mix
- Espresso & Coconut Power Balls
For those times where nothing but real chocolate will do the job, check out some of our favourite chocolate options.
The team at Pana take chocolate pretty seriously, and that’s why it’s so damn good. Their chocolate is handmade, certified organic and Fairtrade, cold-pressed, unrefined and chemical free. Not to mention vegan, gluten free, dairy free & soy free. As the Pana team put it, they make ‘Chocolate for everyone”.
Inspired by a trip to Mexico and a desire to produce great-quality chocolate sustainably, Loving Earth was born in Melbourne and has been producing Fairtrade, raw, organic chocolate since 2007. They’ve now branched out beyond chocolate and also source and make everything from buckinis to butters.
Try their Nutty Mr Maple, and check out their Gift Boxes if one block just won’t be enough.
Tell us in the comments section what your favourite healthy treats are when you need to kill your chocolate craving, or if you have a favourite chocolate that you love let us know so we can try it too!