A Health Coach's Case for Chocolate

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I never judge a client's need for chocolate. Chocolate is the only ingredient that is its very own food group.

Okay, not really—but it seems as if it should be. Powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious—many people eat chocolate at least several times a week.

Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter— serotonin—in the brain. It can also be a good source of magnesium. If you have over the top chocolate cravings, you could be deficient in the key nutrient.

But, eat the wrong kind, and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients.

How to Eat Chocolate Responsibly

Chocolate begins life as raw cacao beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however—think commercially produced candy bars—the fewer healthy components remain.

So how to get the most out of your chocolate fix?

  • Choose dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains.
  • Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
  • Go raw—or as unprocessed as possible.
  • Watch your portions. It is easy to overdo it. One trick to try, keep chocolate out of sight to avoid temptation.

Are you a chocoholic? No judgement here! But don't forget it is just part of a diet, not the whole thing ;-)