IS CHOCOLATE A HEALTH FOOD?
I live in Switzerland, one of the best places for chocolate lovers. I don’t know many people who don’t like chocolate here, but I know many who do, and I belong to this second group.
As healthy and enjoyable eating are both very important to me and I love chocolate, I would like to share a few thoughts with you about it.
Is chocolate a health food? Well, we hear this over and over again, but to be honest I am not convinced about it.
There are many health claims about chocolate, for example, that it improves heart health, lowers blood pressure and prevents diabetes. Even if it is nice to believe all this, I couldn’t find real evidence to prove these claims.
However, chocolate is definitely delicious and I have to admit that I consume it regularly. If you are like me and you love chocolate, I assure you that you can eat it without feeling guilty. The important thing is to make sure that you choose the best quality.
Let’s look at how to do that. What aspects are important to consider when you chose your chocolate?
Make sure, that it contains high quality, preferably organic ingredients
The fewer ingredients, the better; good quality chocolate contains only cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar, preferably raw cane sugar and maybe vanilla
Your product should have high fat versus high sugar content - eat chocolate with minimum 80% cocoa; the higher the cocoa percentage the lower the amount of sugar
Avoid lower quality chocolates that contain added butter fat, vegetable oils, artificial colours, artificial flavours and lecithin
If you love chocolate and want to enjoy it, choose only high quality products, even if these are pricey. You don’t need to eat much of it. Always choose quality over quantity. This is even more true if we take into account the heavy metal content of cocoa beans. My only concern about eating chocolate is that nearly all cocoa contains fairly high amount of cadmium and lead, which are toxic to the human body.
Let’s be honest. Chocolate is a luxury comfort food and not a health food. Our body definitely doesn’t need it to survive or stay healthy. But it is a delicious treat.
Finally, I would like to share with you two amazingly tasty recipes, which you can prepare for special occasions.
Best basic chocolate truffle:
1.5 dl heavy cream
2 tbs butter
100 g 70% chocolate
50 g 90% chocolate
a pinch of salt
Place the cream and the butter in a small pan and bring them to simmering point. Add salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Break the chocolate into small pieces. Pour the warm butter-cream mixture over the chocolate, mix until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let it cool down, and then place it in the fridge for about two hours. Then form small balls and cover them with raw cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate.
Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone and Fresh Berries
200 g organic dark chocolate (+80%)
50 g butter
40 g honey
30 g unrefined cane sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp chestnut flour or any ground nuts
1 tsp psyllium
Melt the chocolate with the butter; whisk the egg whites with the salt; whisk the egg yolk with the sugar and honey; mix carefully all ingredients, pour in a cake form and bake at 150 °C for about 45 minutes. Serve with mascarpone or whipped cream, berries and cinnamon-cocoa mix.