Chocolate is the only ingredient that is its very own food group.
Well not really – but it seems as if it should be. Powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious – many people (including a number of my clients) eat chocolate at least several times a week.
Which begs the question…
Is Chocolate Good for You?
The answer is both yes and no.
In small amounts, chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual malaise, 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.
But eat the wrong kind and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients.
How to Eat it Responsibly
Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) 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?
• Don’t be afraid of the 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. You can find raw chocolate in health food stores and natural markets, such as Whole Foods.
Looking for more fun ways to enjoy your favorite food? Try this dark chocolate treat. Invite some friends over and make a batch!
Chef Karolina’s Raw Chocolate Truffles
Makes 25 truffles
1 cup raw cacao powder (I use Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder)
1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
1/2 cup maple syrup
Water (just enough to create a thick paste, probably less than a half-tablespoon)
Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love
• Mix cashews in a food processor until it forms a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste.
• Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
• Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
• Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
• Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough. Coat balls in your chosen roll-in ingredients!
Want to share a healthy chocolate recipe? Post below!