Everyone loves a treat and one of the most popular ones when it comes to mealtime is chocolate. Loved the world over, chocolate has a habit of putting a smile on most people’s faces, and with Easter right around the corner, there’s no doubt that chocolate will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds yet again.
However, is it possible to have healthy chocolate? Does such a thing exist or are we forever going to be munching chocolate with a smidgen of guilt any time we eat it?
The best rule of thumb when it comes to chocolate is the darker it is, the more healthy it is when compared to the alternatives. Dark chocolate is made from 60% cocoa, sometimes more, and as this has the highest percentage of antioxidants compared to other varieties of chocolate, it’s better for you. This is primarily because antioxidants help you to protect your body from disease.
Alternative types of chocolate, like milk or white chocolate, contain more milk or varieties of sugar and cream that makes them higher in fat and calories – not a good combination. While dark chocolate is the better choice, it still contains a significant amount of calories and fat, so you can’t gorge yourself on dark chocolate all the time, but a treat here and there along with a healthy balanced diet can work.
Unlike dark chocolate, white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa, instead, it contains vastly more sugar and fats, which means you don’t get the benefits of antioxidants which can help to lower blood pressure.
Cocao and Cacao
When looking for healthy chocolate, you want to find types that contain cocoa or cacao – both of which come from cocoa beans. Cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted beans, while cocoa powder is roasted at high temperatures.
Both have their benefits but cacao keeps living enzymes in and is less processed, containing healthy fatty acids but cocoa, while similar, changes the structure when roasted at a higher temperature. It’s still better than alternatives, but out of the two, cacao is the pick when it comes to selecting chocolate.
Chocolate As Part Of A Balanced Diet
Your diet is an important part of working towards your fitness goals. You can do an incredible amount of exercise but if it’s not supported by your diet, then getting from A to B in your objectives can be a real chore.
While making sure you’re eating your greens, getting enough protein and using carbohydrates wisely to improve performance is all-important, a treat every now and then will help you to relax once in a while.
Like all diets and exercise routines, treats can be good and chocolate can absolutely be a part of your plan. If chocolate is something you crave every now and then, you can have it, but just make sure the proportion size is right. It’s a case of quality over quantity. When you do sit down and decide it’s time for a bit of chocolate, try to go for small portions of dark chocolate in order to lower the hit on your body.