Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Diet & Nutrition

Change Your Chocolate-Eating Habit for Better Health

Chock full of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenol antioxidants, chocolate has been touted as a nutritional treasure trove.

Chock full of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenol antioxidants, chocolate has been touted as a nutritional treasure trove. Does that mean you can indulge to your heart’s–and taste buds’–content? The answer may be bittersweet. While chocolate has noteworthy health benefits, from boosting cardiovascular health to increasing memory and brain function, how you eat chocolate has a big impact on the benefits you reap. But no matter what your chocolate-eating habit, you can improve your health with a few simple changes. Try these five ideas and make indulging in this favorite treat a health-boosting pleasure.

Go Even Darker

When it comes to nutrition, dark chocolate earns higher marks than milk chocolate. One thing to bear in mind, though, is not all dark chocolate makes the grade. To get the best nutrient value, choose chocolate that’s over 85 percent cocoa. It may taste more bitter than chocolate with lower cocoa content, but the payoff is sweeter: fewer additives, less sugar, and more disease-fighting flavonoid antioxidants. Plus, darker chocolate has a deep, rich flavor you’ll grow to appreciate and even favor.

Look at the Label

Labels are there for a reason–to instruct and guide. Chocolate labels tell you plenty about the product and can help you determine what to buy and what to skip. Look for chocolate labels that include “fair trade,” “non-GMO,” and “organic,” as well as products made in countries near the equator, like Ecuador and Ghana, which ensures they came from quality cacao beans. Go for chocolate that lists cocoa or chocolate liquor first rather than sugar, and steer clear of products with artificial flavors and unhealthy oils.

Avoid Alkalization

Considered by some as the superior chocolate, Dutch chocolate uses a process called alkalization, which has both good and bad effects on the cocoa. One the one hand, Dutch-processed products boast a smooth, mellow flavor since the alkalization removes the bitterness of the cocoa. But “Dutching” also harms the antioxidants, making the cocoa less healthful than natural cocoa. And don’t be fooled by the lighter hue of natural cocoa–it still offers plenty of rich, chocolatey flavor.

De-Sugar Your Cocoa

Who doesn’t like a frothy mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day? Not only does hot cocoa hit the spot, it provides a calming, comforting taste experience. Unfortunately, most hot cocoa drinks have heaps of sugar and unhealthy ingredients in them–and that can quickly cancel out the benefits of the drink. Instead of using hot cocoa mixes, opt for a healthier version: natural unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with organic milk, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Balance Calories with Health Benefits

One square of very dark chocolate doesn’t contain much in the way of sugar or calories, but don’t eat a whole bar. Aim for a square or two a day for ultimate health benefits. Because chocolate is so addicting, it’s often hard to stop eating it. Best advice? End a meal with a small chocolate treat–one or two ounces. For an even more satisfyingly healthful treat, top a square of chocolate with a dollop of natural, unsweetened peanut butter. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, so don’t overdo chocolate.

Chocolate is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Indulge healthfully and mindfully, and enjoy this delectable treat for all its tasty goodness.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

COVID-19

Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD explains the difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID. Black doctors, nurses and researchers dispel misinformation and provide accessible facts about...

Diet & Nutrition

Nature supplies us with sweet and sour oranges, and you can find a large variety of sweet oranges available in grocery stores. All oranges...

Diet & Nutrition

Superfoods are healthy, nutrient-dense foods that can help you meet your vitamin and mineral requirements, lose weight, and improve your health. Not only that,...

Lifestyle

Do you feel drained of energy? If so, look for the cause and make amends. Habits you carry out on a day-to-day basis are...

Get our wellness newsletter

Filter out the noise and nurture your inbox with health and wellness

advice that’s inclusive and rooted in medical expertise.