When your biggest fan asks you to write a blog on chocolate, how can you say no? This one is inspired by my mom!
Let’s start with why chocolate is so great.
The Benefits of Chocolate
Consuming small amounts of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attacks, fight free radicals, and improve your mood and memory (among other benefits).
But not all chocolate is created equal. You need to be mindful of the type of chocolate that you eat, and to eat it in moderation as it’s meant to be consumed in small quantities.
The Best Types of Chocolate
Flavonoids in the cocoa beans are responsible for chocolate’s health benefits. And since dark chocolate is less processed than milk and white chocolate, it retains the highest percentage of flavonoids, and is therefore the healthiest type. Aim to eat chocolate with 70% or more cocoa content. Nuts or fruit are great flavor additions to the bitterness of dark chocolate.
Pay attention to what’s in your chocolate (especially milk and white chocolate). Many companies add unhealthy ingredients and/or use processing methods that compromise its integrity. Hint: make sure you understand and can pronounce the ingredient list, and that you’re avoiding those containing excess amounts of sugar.
The Sweet Spot: The Right Amount of Chocolate to Eat
The daily recommended amount is (no more than) 1-2 oz so you can get the benefits without consuming too much fat, sugar or calories. Yep, that’s it… only a couple squares or pieces. Chocolate is a calorie-dense food so be sure to savor the small amount you consume. I aim to eat 1/3 to 1/4 of a chocolate bar at a time (key word: aim).
Also, if you are sensitive to caffeine (like myself), make sure you don’t have chocolate in the evening as it might make it more difficult to fall asleep.
My Favorite Chocolates
As a chocolate lover, I’d like to share my favorite types and brands of chocolates (based on many taste tests over the years!) with you.
Evolved has amazing flavor combinations and is my go-to afternoon pick-me-up. And their slogan, “It’s food, not candy” is a great reminder each time I reach for a bar. Divine chocolate bars are a close second, and focus on sustainable and fair trade practices.
As for hot chocolate, Sillycow is absolutely delicious. I haven’t found anything comprable.
Thank you mom for passing on your love of chocolate! There is nothing better than enjoying a hot chocolate or mocha on a winter day, especially if you’re there with me 😊.