Guy: I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t like chocolate. In saying that, there’s a vast difference between snapping off a small square to fire off those taste buds, to devouring a whole block whilst watching the Biggest Loser!
Being that it’s Easter and chocolate consumption goes into overdrive, we wanted to fly the flag of the tasty bean and share with you the star studded benefits of cocoa, along with what to look for and what we do, and then down to the stuff that well, let’s just say it needs to be avoided. Over to Angela…
Angela: I LOVE chocolate, good chocolate that is! What I mean is chocolate that contains high levels of cocoa. So I’m talking about good quality dark chocolate. Cocoa has been used medicinally for over 2 thousand years. It’s not just magical on the taste buds!
The Health Benefits of Cocoa
- Stimulates digestion – because of the bitter taste
- High in antioxidants – contains more than 600 plant chemicals that protect against heart disease and cancer. Higher than goji, acai and blueberries.
- Used in the treatment of: fatigue, fever, heart pain, shortness of breath, kidney and bowel complaints
- Can elevate mood – great source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA), four well-studied neurotransmitters, which are associated with feelings of well being and help alleviate depression
Cocoa contains vitamins E and B, chromium, iron, magnesium and potassium. The bitter taste of cocoa in dark chocolate only makes you only want a few pieces, so you naturally limit yourself. Where as milk chocolate contains low levels of cocoa, high levels of sugar and usually artificial colours and flavours. The high levels of sugar make you want to eat the whole bar.
Tip #1 Choc’ Fix – Make a simple paste
This works a treat for snacking on a quick healthy fix! Simply mix a heaped tablespoon of raw cocoa with melted coconut oil until you’ve got a nice consistent paste. Enough to satisfy a seasoned chocoholic and wipe those cravings out instantly, making it an awesome little snack.
If you have a sweet tooth and you are slowly weaning yourself off the sweet poison, add a tiny bit of stevia or 1/4 of tsp of rice malt (it’s fructose free).
Tip #2 Choc’ Fix – The 180 chocolate & berries hit
We use cocoa in our chocolate flavoured protein powder. When I’m feeling chocolate urges I often pour over ½ scoop on top of yoghurt and berries. Yummo!
This literally takes less than a minute to whip up! Then I’m getting the health benefits of cocoa without any sugar.
How to pick the right chocolate bar
The things you need to look at when picking chocolate is the % of cocoa. I avoid milk and white chocolate because of the low levels of cocoa and high levels of sugar. Just because the chocolate says dark does not mean it’s high in cocoa. A lot of the dark flavoured chocolate has less than 50% cocoa. I would look for 70% and above. The less cocoa the more sugar. Also be aware of any artificial colours and flavours. I always try and buy fair trade to protect the workers against unfair conditions. These are the things to look for in the ingredients:
- Cane Sugar Free
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Low GI
- Fair Trade
Have a wonderful Easter and enjoy eating chocolate high in Cocoa. I’m off to have a 180 chocolate fix…