Cravings for chocolate and its satisfyingly smooth, sweet flavour are common among most of us. This can be attributed to our childhood where we were rewarded for being good with a 'treat' - who doesn't remember the days of Kinder Surprises? From these experiences, we've trained ourselves to believe that when we feel like we deserve a 'treat', we must reach for the nearest, sugar-laden chocolate bar. However once the satisfying taste of the chocolate fades, many of us suffer from feelings of guilt. Because, chocolate is bad for you, right? Well, not always.
In its original form, the cocoa bean, a derivative of the cocoa pod, is especially high in natural antioxidants. Which means, the higher percentage of cocoa in your chocolate bar (aim for at least 70% cocoa), the higher its natural antioxidants are. In addition to this, antioxidants are a part of a group of compounds that researchers and food scientists refer to as flavanols. Not only do flavanols boast a high level of antioxidants, they can also help keep us healthy.
With so many options on the market how can you be sure you're buying chocolate that doesn't contain high levels of sugar? Always read the label and try opt for a no-sugar-added version, some companies (I recommend Well Naturally) sweeten their chocolate with stevia, a plant based ingredient that has no calories, making it a healthier choice. That's sweet news all round.