Just in time for Easter ….

There is no substitute for real chocolate whatever anyone says! But the quality and health benefits of chocolate vary enormously and you can make a healthier choice when you just can’t resist it.

Virtually all chocolate contains added sugar although it is possible to buy choc with 100% cocoa solids and no added sugar.  Milk chocolate typically contains 56g of sugar per 100g; 70% choc around 30g per 100g and 85% choc contains approximately 15g sugar per 100g.

Organic cacao nibs contain around 18g of carbohydrate but the sugars are considerably lower at around 0.8g per 100g.

In other words the darker the chocolate the less sugar you will be consuming and the healthier the choc.  Milk chocolate often contains other ingredients such as palm oils; emulsifiers and flavourings which can disrupt gut hormones affecting digestive function.

A small piece of dark choc can help satisfy that sugar craving at the same time giving you antioxidants, the minerals magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc as well as flavonoids – plant compounds that have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Consuming dark chocolate may also have some heart benefits – the flavanols may help lower blood pressure

A small 2018 study showed that chocolate flavonoids may enhance ‘neuroplasticity’ – the brain’s ability to re-organise connections in response to learning or following injury.

These findings are not an excuse to fill up on chocolate but at least we can make a healthier choice when looking for a treat or snack.

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