Hello Loyal Soup People! The last several of my health tips have been a little “serious.” So this week, let’s talk about chocolate!! Who doesn’t love all the health news we’ve been learning about chocolate??
In short, dark chocolate contains high levels of flavanols – compounds that act as powerful antioxidants. Consumption (in moderation!) of dark chocolate has been tied to improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of heart disease.
Remember that the more actual chocolate contained in a bar, the more flavanols. This means that milk chocolate, which is primarily fat and sugar, contains very few. However, a dark chocolate bar with a very high cocoa percentage contains very high levels of these important compounds. Another important note – chocolate bars with 70% cocoa contain, on average, three teaspoons of sugar. A bar with 85% cocoa contains a single teaspoon of sugar.
When choosing a chocolate bar, keep a few things in mind:
– Portion control – Try to limit yourself to 1.5 ounces per day. Take small bites and let the chocolate melt in your mouth. Don’t rush the experience!
– Keep your chocolate pure and simple. Avoid extra flavors such as caramel, toffee, and other additives. Choose a high cocoa percentage to get the most healthy benefits and the least amount of sugar.
– Choose Fair Trade. Unfortunately, the cocoa industry has been linked to a lot of unsavory farming and labor practices. If you can afford it, try to purchase Fair Trade bars that support small and sustainable farmers.
What’s for dessert tonight? Chocolate anyone??
*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!