As you know its Easter this week end and I have had quite a few people ask me “Is chocolate good for me” and ” what sort of chocolate is the best”.
I thought I would give you a quick heads up on what I think about chocolate.
Cocoa means “Food of the Gods”
There are three main forms of chocolate;
Dark, milk and white.
The cocoa beans are first made into a chocolate liquor. This is done by removing the shells, they are fermented, roasted and then ground until they become liquid. The liquid is then made up of cocoa butter and cocoa solids, both of which are present in the bean.
Dark Chocolate is made from the chocolate liquor, extra cocoa butter and sugar. It does have a higher percentage of cocoa.The higher the amount of cocoa the better it is for you. I recommend 70% or higher cocoa. The higher the cocoa content the more bitter it will taste. The good thing about it being bitter is that it gives you the rich chocolatey hit that you are after but you can’t eat too much of it. One or two pieces is generally enough.
It is loaded with nutrients that can have positive benefits to your health. Research shows us that dark chocolate can lower the risk of heart disease and has a positive effect on lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the arteries. It is high in antioxidants – polyphenols, flavonols and catechins.
Milk chocolate is generally made from at least 10% chocolate liquor, at least 12% milk solids and around 20%-25% cocoa solids (there are some brands that have less cocoa solids, think family milk brands), cocoa butter, vanilla, fats and lecithin (which is generally made from soy which nowadays are mostly GMO).
The problems I see with milk chocolate is when they reduce the cocoa they fill it up with more milk products and fillers which are generally not that great for you. I also find that people can get mucousy and phlegmy from the milk version due to the amount of milk solids. A lot of people also have diffficulty with serving sizes when eating this because it’s so moreish.
White chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all. It contains no cocoa solids at all. It’s made from cocoa butter, a pale yellow edible vegetable fat which by itself tastes very unappealing. Added milk, sugar, vanilla all make it taste palatable. If it’s really a white colour it means that it has had fats or extra vegetable oils added or even colourings to make it more appealing.
Caffeine can also be a problem with chocolate so if you are feeling a little jittery after you eat chocolate or can’t sleep when you’ve indulged. Chocolate could be a problem for you.
Whatever chocolate you decide on be mindful of your serving size and enjoy it. More damage is done if you eat it then spend the whole time feeling guilty about it.
Savour each piece :)