Calling all chocolate lovers! Did you know that chocolate could actually be good for you? Do you know what differentiates healthy chocolate, from chocolate that will sabotage your health? We’re breaking it down for you, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
You’ve probably heard that chocolate can be healthy for you: it’s got magnesium in it, or loads of antioxidants, or helps to make your mood better. While all these things are true about real, pure chocolate, that doesn’t mean that all chocolate on the shelf is good for you. Before you run off to the store to buy your favourite bar, consider the following.
Sugar Hides Everywhere: Even in plain milk chocolate, many conventional chocolate brands will have sugar as the #1 ingredient in their bar. This is white, refined sugar—the kind that wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels, hormones, mood, skin health, and more. And it’s the first ingredient—meaning there is probably more sugar in that bar than anything else. And if you choose a bar that’s not plain milk chocolate, and has things like caramel or nougat added, you can bet there is more than 1 sweetener in that bar.
Artificial Flavours & Ingredients: Speaking of caramel and nougat, often conventional chocolate bars get their flavours artificially. For example, mint chocolate bars might not incorporate mint at all—but just an artificial mint flavour. Or what about those coloured chocolates? Yep, artificial colouring. The less simple a bar is, the more artificial ingredients and additives there are, and the longer the ingredient list. Buyer beware: can you pronounce all those ingredients?
What About Wax? Yep, many conventional chocolate brands will add paraffin wax to their chocolate. It might give your chocolate that shiny look—but it’s indigestible by the body. It’s edible, but it passes right through your system undigested. Not the healthiest for you or your digestive tract! Okay, so how can you tell if a chocolate is good for you? Here are some tips when choosing your chocolate treats this Valentine’s Day!
The Darker the Better: Choose chocolate that is 70% or more cocoa. This means that there is more cocoa added to the bar, and less of other ingredients like sweeteners or fillers. Dark chocolate contains more of the beneficial properties of cocoa like magnesium, antioxidants, and other minerals that actually benefit your health.
Less Is More: When it comes to ingredients, anyway. One of our chocolate brands, Endangered Species, makes a mint chocolate bar that is just bittersweet chocolate and natural mint flavour. The more ingredients you recognize and can pronounce, the better. Also, the bars we carry will have different things added like almonds, cacao nibs, dried cranberries, or even quinoa to give your chocolate some variety and flavour—but these are all real, whole, natural ingredients. Nothing fake or artificial!
Real is Best: You won’t find any fake or artificial ingredients in our bars, and in fact we support brands that are as close to nature as possible. Ones that use things like real cacao beans, real vanilla beans, real mint, real nuts. This helps you be sure that you are choosing something your body will recognize, and helps you avoid things like paraffin wax.
Make It Fair Trade: Many of our bars are Fair Trade Certified, meaning that the producers and growers who helped make that bar are paid a fair wage. It helps support communities and build things like schools, hospitals, and successful lives for the people who live in those communities. Ask us about some of our fair trade brands today!
So what are some of our favourite chocolate treats? Alter Eco Truffles are so delicious, decadent, and made with coconut oil—make sure you try all 4 flavours. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars help you indulge in a cause. Their bars are made with real ingredients, and some of their proceeds are given back to environmental organizations to help the wildlife thrive. Check out our video on Endangered Species here to learn more about their standards! Giddy Yoyo makes organic chocolate bars that are 100% raw. Try any of these chocolates for high quality, delicious chocolate that is actually good for you.
Want more chocolate in your life? We’re about to release a free Valentine’s Guide that highlights some delicious chocolate recipes and some great Valentine’s gift ideas. Watch the blog in the next few days to get it. Or sign up for our email newsletter here and we'll send you a link!