Is chocolate good for us?
It is all about chocolate at Easter time. Chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs, your choice of white, dark or milk and even ones with caramel fillings. So much to choose from it is unbelievable. Reports are always coming out saying that chocolate is good for us and I have many clients ask me is it ok to have dark chocolate. So what is best?
As we all know antioxidants are very good for us, they act a bit like a mop in a dirty bathroom, antioxidants help to mop up all the bad stuff in our bodies and help keep us away from chronic disease such as heart disease or cancer. Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids. In general, the darker the chocolate is the more flavonoids it will have. So a chocolate which has 70 per cent cocoa would be ideal. Unfortunately, most chocolate consumed in Australia is usually the less cocoa and more sugar type, which doesn’t have the same benefits. So the tip for Easter this year is choose the chocolate that is darker with a high content of cocoa.
Interestingly some studies have shown that dark chocolate daily reduces blood pressure, but we do need to be wary of these findings as long term effects are not known and what about the additional sugars, fat and kilojoules consumed in the chocolate? It is not just the pure cocoa that we are consuming. To get the most benefits from the flavonoids suggestion would be try some raw cocoa powder in a glass of skim milk.
Enjoy your Easter but remember everything is moderation. Claims that chocolate is good for us as it is high in antioxidants is not scientifically correct, particularly with the types of chocolates you may buy. Remember the generous proportions of fats and added sugars that are found in chocolate (up to 50% for each) which may have a negative impact on our health.
Some tips to get your chocolate kick in a healthier way:
- Choose a diet chocolate mousse
- Smaller the portion the better, choose a fun size chocolate
- A low fat and low kilojoule hot chocolate eg. Jarrah hot chocolates
Other ideas instead of all chocolate at Easter:
- Have an Easter hunt for the kids, hide little foam eggs and toy chickens so at the end they can put it all together and make an Easter hat
- Make cookies in shapes of eggs, bunnies and chickens
- Paint hard boiled eggs in bright colours
- See latest blog post