Chocolate is not the usual recommendation for healthy eating, but it should be on the list. However, before you rush out and buy a bar of the milk chocolate we are all used to eating, take note. The healthy chocolate is dark, real cacao making up at least 80% – 90% of the ingredients. You can get this @fairtradeUK and there is an organic range.
Unfortunately, few of us have ever tasted true, original cacao, as not much is present in the chocolate that fills our shops. Cacao is made from the seeds of the fruit from the tropical evergreen tree, theobroma cacao. It has a bitter taste which we are not used to, so it is usually disguised with milk, other additives and sugar. But it is this bitter chocolate that has amazing health properties, including on your digestive system. The regular chocolate has had the phytonutrients broken down during the production process.
If you eat chocolate containing at least 80% cacao, it can improve your memory, boost your immune system, reduce heart disease, improve the function of your entire cardiovascular system, and give you lots of energy. The list goes on because it can also help to reduce the effects of high blood pressure, break down ‘bad’ cholesterol, and although it might seem counter intuitive, it can help as part of a weight loss plan. With medical advice, it can also be beneficial in Type 2 diabetes. And as if that is not enough, it will help to improve mood. There has been a lot of research into the health benefits of cacao, and so it is definitely something to add to your shopping list.
However, don’t eat regular chocolate. That won’t provide these benefits. By the time it’s been produced and packaged ready for the shelf, most of the therapeutic properties have been lost.