Ebb & Flow -

It’s easter egg season; chocolate is everywhere. It’s one of our most treasured indulgences and brings excitement and happiness to celebrations…

…but is it healthy?

Personally I don’t think any treat should be vilified. The minute we put a food on the naughty list or think we shouldn’t eat it, the lure to indulge increases, and if we give in to these natural cravings we can beat ourselves up for failing to stick to our self imposed, restrictive rules.

Chocolate can be a healthy food in moderation, particularly depending on the type of chocolate we choose to eat.

Dark chocolate and milk chocolate are not created equal:

  • 70% or higher dark chocolate has much less sugar than milk chocolate
  • It is also much higher in healthy antioxidants, polyphenols and flavenols, which have been shown to potentially be beneficial for blood pressure, heart health, inflammation and possibly even diabetes
  • The cocoa that dark chocolate is made from is a good source of iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc

All of these things can make dark chocolate a healthier choice!

Cocoa (the bean chocolate is made from) is high in prebiotics, which are the substances which feed the good bacteria in your digestive system. Healthy bacteria in our digestive system can be linked to various health benefits, including better immunity, energy and healthy weight maintenance.

Aside from the physical benefits, dark chocolate can be good for your mood. Cocoa contains stimulatory compounds like theobromine, which can boost your energy and alertness and trigger a surge of the neurochemical endorphins: dopamine and serotonin. This is one of the reasons chocolate is so popular – it makes us feel good!

Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is dairy free, so it is suitable for vegans or anyone who is intolerant to dairy products.

Different brands of chocolate have varying ethical standards. Personally, I like to choose an organic, ethical, fair trade dark chocolate, like Green & Blacks, so I know it is respecting workers rights and the environment whist still being good for me.

Finally, while chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) contains many elements which can be healthful, it can also be high in calories, saturated fat and sugar. Yes, indulging in a few squares of dark chocolate, or a handful of dark chocolate mini eggs may give you a welcome energy and mood boost and offer multiple potential health benefits, but like anything moderation is key.