Growing up with a Swiss father, it was inevitable that I became a lover of chocolate. In fact, my now husband made chocolates when we were dating and you could definitely say it was an added attraction.
So here's an overview and a few facts about chocolate. Most of the health benefits come from dark chocolate (>80% cocoa is ideal as it has higher amounts of the goodies, is harder to overdo and has less sugar and fat than milk and white chocolate). In fact, white chocolate isn't "real" chocolate as chocolate needs a minimum amount of cocoa solids to be called chocolate.
The Health benefits of chocolate are thought to come from Flavonoids which act as antioxidants. However you don't need to eat much to see some of these heart health benefits. Benefits in terms of reducing blood pressure and cholesterol are seen in about 8g of dark chocolate (about 1 piece).
Other health benefits of chocolate are thought to be due to its polyphenol content and ability to increase serotonin levels which may help boost mood and cognition. The fat and sugar content and creamy mouthfeel also add to the pleasure and hedonistic effect of eating chocolate.
The main downside to chocolate is due to its fat, sugar and calorie content which can easily blow out your daily calorie intake if you are unaware. Just check out how much these little goodies contribute:
1 Lindt ball (12g) – 70 kCalories (kCal) (300kJ)
Lindt mini Easter eggs (5g) 30kCal (125kJ)
7g mini easter eggs – 36 kCal (150kJ)
39g Caramel egg 189kCal (790kJ)
Cadbury Caramel Egg 177kCal (743kJ)
Remember it's all about quality over quantity. It's better to have a little of what you really fancy rather than a whole heap of less enjoyable chocolate. If you overdid the chocolate Easter Sunday remember that it's one day a year and get your wellness goals back on track tomorrow. If you still have chocolate left over here are a few ideas to do on Easter Monday: