We can’t quite believe that Easter is almost here! It seems like only last week that we were packing away the Christmas decorations, cramming in the last few mince pies and glugging the last of the Prosecco, while frantically writing our ‘New Year, New Me’ diet plans! And is it just us, or did it feel like on January 2nd, we were walking around the supermarket browsing lots of leftover, ‘on sale’ Chocolate Santas and Stollen Cakes, and the very next day, the chocolate Santas had morphed into full price Chocolate Easter Bunnies, and the Stollen Cakes replaced by Easter Eggs that wouldn’t look out of place in the Louvre!?
Easter means many things to different people… but we definitely can’t shy away from the fact that Easter will be a ‘guilt free’ reason to indulge in CHOCOLATE for a whole (long) weekend for many of us!
So we’re here to give you some great reasons to break that egg… and enjoy (in moderation, of course!):
- The fundamental ingredient of chocolate is the COCOA BEAN. And all ‘arguments’ as to whether chocolate can actually be healthy for you, start with the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are packed full of nutrients, and actually have greater content of vitamins and minerals that any other food out there! The key is to make sure the chocolate that you choose has a high cocoa content (65% or more) as the confectionery chocolate that we find in abundance on the supermarket shelves, typically contains less than 10% cocoa. It’s actually the additional ingredients that are added to a chocolate bar that give it unhealthy associations such as palm oil, poor quality cocoa beans, an abundance of refined sugar, flavourings, stabilisers and edible waxes.
- Any food can form part of a healthy, balanced diet. This means that you don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to have some chocolate from time to time. The key word is ‘balance’ and that balance can include chocolate! You can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet by choosing the right chocolate. Opt for those chocolate bars that have a high cocoa content (the higher the better). And chocolate bars with the highest contents of cocas are usually dairy free too!
- Chocolate can actually be extremely nutrient-dense. High quality chocolate contains more than 600 different chemical compounds, many of which have been proven to positively impact our health. Flavonoids improve circulation, reduce cholesterol, and promote good heart health. Theobromine releases endorphins which are the ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brain. Polyphenols protect the skin against UV radiation, fight free-radicals and signs of ageing, reduce inflammation and support normal sugar levels.
There are two, easy-to-remember rules to make sure that you can enjoy chocolate without it having an impact on your health or your waist line… ‘Everything in moderation”, and “Quality over quantity”!
Now let’s find some eggs!