Q:“My sweetheart loves to give me chocolate –whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not! Some say chocolate is “healthy” other say avoid it. What is the deal? And is there a particular type of chocolate I should tell my sweetheart to get me?
Who doesn’t love chocolate – I know I do! The delicious taste, smell and texture of chocolate has had people hooked for almost 2,000 years and it has become a traditional symbol of love right up there with flowers.
However, many of us worry that it’s bad for us – and who wants to give their loved one a present that may not be helping their health? The good news is that the cocoa in chocolate can actually have lots of health benefits and doesn’t necessarily need to come with lots of sugar and fat that aren’t so good for us.
So, how do we make sure our chocolate is doing us favors?
Choose chocolate with a high cocoa content.
A bar containing 70% cocoa solids has about twice as much health-giving antioxidants per serving as a bar with 35% cocoa solids.
Make sure the cocoa is good quality.
It’s important we choose a good manufacturer who ensures the antioxidants aren’t processed out of the cocoa. In its purest unprocessed form, it is often called cacao rather than cocoa – so that’s a good term to look out for.
Don’t overdo it.
Even a small bar of dark chocolate can have several teaspoons of sugar that need to be taken into account. The intense flavors of dark chocolate mean that a few squares often satisfy the chocolate cravings quite nicely!
Dr. Sally Norton is happy to answer questions you might have about health and diet. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org