Headlines in newspapers and magazines tell us that chocolate is good for us. Unfortunately many people take this on board without reading the small print! It’s really amazing how quickly this ‘health’ news travelled. Many people immediately decided they wanted to be healthier and this was a piece of advice they could listen to.
Chocolate does contain antioxidants, vital nutrients for supporting good health and longevity. Antioxidants help to counteract free radical damage to the body caused by ageing, stress, sunbathing, pollution, etc. But much chocolate also contains high levels of sugar and artificial flavouring. So, if you want to eat healthily look out for chocolate containing 65% or more cocoa solids. In general this means that you are looking at the more expensive chocolate products. As well as containing antioxidants, chocolate also contains potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2, D and E.
But let’s not kid ourselves, you can get all these benefits in other foods. You don’t have to eat chocolate to get these important nutrients. Fruit and vegetables provide antioxidants – and lots of other good things as well. Having said that, there is no reason why good-quality chocolate should not form part of a healthy diet for most people. Unfortunately many people find it difficult to eat chocolate in moderation. If you’re one of these people, try taking a good zinc supplement. Many people find a regular intake of zinc, reduces their chocolate craving. It also has all sorts of other health benefits, because zinc is involved in much enzyme activity. Adequate levels of zinc are vital for the immune system, for general skin health, as well as for rapid healing of burns and wounds. Zinc is important for vision, and your senses of taste and smell. It has a role in fertility and prostate health.
Enjoying a small amount of chocolate with a high cocoa solid content as part of a normal diet is, for most people, perfectly acceptable, but do not let the chocolate replace more nutrient-dense foods like fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts.