As a wellness coach I asked quite often if I eat sweets and the simple answer is: YES. In all honesty I would rather indulge in salty foods than sweets, but chocolate is an item that you can find in my pantry.
Before I give you some of the benefits and my personal choice of chocolate let’s just do a quick comparison between different types:
- Dark chocolate has 74 calories per large piece and is full of antioxidants
- Carob chocolate has 66 calories per large piece, is dairy and vegan free- The best chocolate alternative in my opinion but nothing nutritionally superior than other options
- Milk chocolate has 67 calories per large piece and
- White chocolate has 68 calories per large piece and it actually not a natural chocolate because it contains no cocoa (usually made from cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar and milk fat)
As you can see all “types” are quite close in calories but definitely for me it’s either dark chocolate around 75% to 80%.
Some of the benefits of dark include:
- Very nutritious
100g of chocolate contains: 11g of fiber, 90% of RDI manganese, 67% of the RDI of iron, 58% of the RDI of magnesium and loads of coper, potassium, zinc and selenium. The fatty acid profile of Dark chocolate is very good and although these numbers are for 100g, dark chocolate is eaten in reasonable quantities (has less of addictive sugar in it).
2. Loaded with antioxidants
Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. In fact, they have way more than most other foods
3. Health benefits
The flavanols I have mentioned in the point above can stimulate the lining of the arteries to produce nitric oxide (NO). This nitric oxide in return sends signals to arteries tor relax, which in return reduces blood pressure.
Dark chocolate also lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
4. Improve cognitive function
Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine which could be responsible for this benefit.
One of my favor chocolate shops and brands in Estonia is Chocolate (www.chocolala.ee)
Not only can you eat some of the most delicious chocolate (hand made from scratch with all organic products) but also visit a chocolate museum and watch chefs made chocolate in front of your eyes.
My personal favorite are the BEAN TO BAR chocolates! Try and let me know!