Wellness: Superfoods - Chocolate Healthy_Say What?
As a chocolate maker, I began “infotaining” tourists and visitors to Guanacaste more than five years ago. One of my favorite parts of the workshops I give is about nutrition. We are all bombarded almost daily with news and information on the latest nutritional discovery when it comes to wonder-food properties. Chances are, they will be raving about some vegetable or root, and more often than not, consuming these foods can be a bit of a struggle as they tend to have a bitter or even foul taste.
So whenever my guests hear me pointing out that cacao is the healthiest food on earth, I immediately get their full attention! Roughly 90 percent of the population in the modern world eats chocolate at least once a week. That's why so many people are surprised to learn that what we've always considered to be candy may actually be good for us.
Important distinction: The healthy part of chocolate is not the milk, the sugar, the soy lecithin or any of the other additives. It's the cacao. If you want to eat healthy chocolate, you will have to focus on chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. There is plenty of packaging information to help to figure this out. Chocolate makers are required to state the percentage of cacao on every bar they sell, so just read the declaration and pay attention.
Dark chocolate with a low sugar content and a high cacao percentage is the healthiest. Or you can just eat the cacao all by itself! You may be surprised just how delicious roasted cacao nibs are. Try them in a smoothie, on your ice cream, tossed in a salad or as a healthy addition to your breakfast cereal.
So what is it exactly that makes cacao the healthiest food on earth? Amazingly, cacao contains most of the nutrients and vitamins we need on a daily basis. It's a very complete food — high in a number of minerals, high in dietary fiber, and contains a good amount of protein. And when it comes to magnesium and antioxidants, cacao is the best source in nature, hands down.
If I have awoken your curiosity – or if you just crave good chocolate – you can find me in The Beach Chocolate Factory in Brasilito Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm.