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.
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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.
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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.