Saturday, January 2, 2010

Here are the chocolate facts:

  • Anti-oxidants Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which contain flavanols - powerful antioxidants which help to protect the body from the effects of pesticides, pollutants, and ageing.
  • Health benefits of chocolate Apart from valuable antioxidants, chocolate contains copper, magnesium and iron, plus vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E. Research has shown that chocolate can help boost immunity, lower blood pressure and may even have anti-cancer properties. It's suggested that dark chocolate can lower cholesterol. And the serotonin in chocolate is a well-known natural mood-enhancer. Great stuff, but before you get too excited...
  • What chocolate should I avoid? The chocolate facts show that high temperatures and pressure used in processing milk and white chocolate destroys the flavanols. Cheap, everyday chocolate bars usually have a low cocoa solids content, plus masses of added sugar and vegetable fats. They won't do your health any good at all.
  • What chocolate is good for me? What you need, is dark chocolate, containing 65 per cent of more of cocoa solids. Not only does it have a richer, far more complex flavour, it gives you all the health benefits of the cocoa bean.
  • How do I recognise good chocolate? The surface should be glossy, the colour dark with reddish-black undertones, and the bar should snap crisply when you break it. Seek out brands with no or low added sugar and a high cocoa-solid content. For preference, choose fair trade brands, and also look out for organic chocolate.
  • How much chocolate should I eat? Think of chocolate as something very special, to be savoured. A couple of squares of top quality chocolate, two or three times a week, is absolutely fine as an addition to a healthy diet. But you can't use it as an alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • How do I store chocolate? Keep it in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.
  • How can I cook with chocolate? There's a great selection of healthy chocolate recipes on this site.
Next time you fancy a little sweet something, remember the chocolate facts, and buy chocolate that tastes great and is good for your health.


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