Is Chocolate Good For You?

What kind of emotions do you feel when you think of CHOCOLATE? For a lot of people, even just the thought of chocolate brings a feeling of comfort or satisfaction. Eating chocolate can be powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious—many people eat chocolate at least several times a week. Which begs the question…is chocolate good for you?

There is a lot of conflicting advice about what’s healthy and what’s not. So what about chocolate? The answer is both yes and no.

Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual disorder, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter—serotonin—in the brain. We could all use a little more of that!

But eat the wrong kind of chocolate and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients that won’t outweigh the benefits!

Chocolate begins life as raw cacao beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however—think commercially produced candy bars—the fewer healthy components remain.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your chocolate fix:

  • First, don’t be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains.
  • Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
  • Go raw—or as unprocessed as possible.
  • Read the label – avoid so called “healthy” chocolate bars that are loaded with extra sugar or dairy.
  • Be conscientious of the source – choose “Fair Trade” varieties!

Finally, always remember that “moderation is key!” Check the serving size and don’t go overboard!

There are a lot of good chocolates out there…I like Alter Eco, Green and Black and Endangered Species brands. I’ll look forward to hearing about some of your favorite chocolates!

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