You may have heard that the right kind of chocolate can actually be good for you. 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5539137/ But not all chocolate is created equal – dark, milk and white chocolate all have different nutrient profiles. So, which is best for you and your gut health?
Short answer? Dark chocolate all the way! You may have noticed that dark chocolate has a percentage on the packaging (70% up to 100%). The higher the percentage the ‘darker’ the chocolate. This means more cacao content and a richer nutrient profile.
Dark chocolate naturally has a bitter taste. The more processed the chocolate bar, the more nutrients are lost. When buying a bar of dark chocolate, make sure you’re not purchasing milk chocolate in disguise! Milk chocolate has added milk and sugar to sweeten the taste. When choosing your chocolate, be sure to check the sugar content as some manufacturers add extra sugar to combat the bitterness of dark chocolate.
What are the benefits of chocolate?
Cacao hosts a variety of nutrients. To be clear, we’re talking about raw cacao (pronounced ‘ka-cow’) not cocoa (‘co-co’ – think hot chocolate powder). Cacao is the purest form of chocolate – raw, unprocessed and unsweetened, with many health benefits – 2https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-cacao-powder3https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-eating/a27080/health-benefits-of-eating-raw-cacao/4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23810791/5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
- Rich in fibre – aids gut motility and nourishes your gut bacteria
- Increases insulin sensitivity and reduces your risk of diabetes
- Improves circulation – which benefits your heart, brain and skin health
- Reduces inflammation – cacao is packed with flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Boosts mood – several studies have shown that consumption of cacao reduces stress and boosts happiness!
Should I ONLY eat dark chocolate?
If you like it – yes! Where possible, stick to chocolates that are 70% or above and have low sugar content.
We advocate the 80/20 rule here at CG – eat well for your gut-brain health 80% of the time, and have a little bit of something you enjoy 20% of the time. If that means your favourite milk or white chocolate – go for it!
Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8am to 8pm, for bespoke advice on gut wellness.