It’s Easter and we all know chocolate is bad for us, right? You know: when you want to eat better, you need to quit all the good stuff, like wine, pasta and of course, chocolate.
I’m so very very glad to tell you that chocolate can be crossed off your ‘bad’ foods list (although, to be honest, I’m not even slightly happy that you have a list of ‘bad’ foods, but I’ll let that pass for now).
There are loads of reasons why chocolate shouldn’t be out of your diet; so many that I can’t even begin to list more than just a few reasons. But I’m going to try, because it’s important that you realise just how good chocolate can be.
First though: let’s make it clear that when we talk about chocolate, we are talking about CHOCOLATE.
The real deal. You know: the lovely stuff made out of, ideally, cocoa, fat, sugar and all the other actual food things that you’d expect to find in proper chocolate. I’m not even bothered about whether or not we are talking about raw, or organic chocolate or the posh stuff from Switzerland. I’m just talking real chocolate. Not chocolate flavoured weird stuff (although, as always: if you happen to like that kind of thing, when you do have some, really take time to enjoy it. There’s no point eating anything cheeky if you aren’t going to enjoy the darned thing!).
Fab. Now that we are talking about real actual chocolate, we can talk about why it does actually have a place in a healthy, nutritious, good-for-you diet.
The reason for this is that chocolate is one of the richest dietary sources of magnesium. And magnesium is one of the vital nutrients that many of us lack in our diets. It’s vital for a huge variety of things, including being a key part of pretty much most chemical reactions in our bodies, important for creating energy, our nerve signals, relaxing muscles as well as being important for making protein (the building blocks of our bodies).
You can see that it’s super important, and yet many of us don’t get enough in our diets which means to be able to do all the things listed above, our bodies will start to demand we get some magnesium in. So we start to crave foods which contain magnesium – and one of those main ones is…. TA DA…. chocolate!
The trouble is, most of the chocolate we have access to isn’t full of magnesium. It looks like chocolate, it even tastes like chocolate, but it’s generally just chocolate flavoured fat. Which means it’s missing one key, vital ingredient: the actual chocolate which contains the magnesium. So we end up just wanting more and more of it because our bodies know that there must be magnesium in there somewhere!
The reason I’m banging on about chocolate and magnesium is because I love being able to tell my clients that they can eat chocolate. That there is no reason to give it up – unless of course it does something weird to you, like give you a migraine, in which case, you probably want to avoid avoid avoid.
But for lots of people, eating good quality real chocolate is a great way to get a boost of the magnesium which is missing in our lives. So if you crave chocolate, do your lovely body a favour and get the good stuff. If you aren’t sure what the good stuff is, a general rule of thumb is to go posh or organic. It tends to be the cheap chocolate that is chocolate flavoured rather than made with actual cacao. Just take a look at the packet and read the ingredients: if it says something like ‘vegetable fat, sugar, sweeteners, flavourings’ then it’s probably not the best chocolate around. Get the good stuff, and your body will thank you for that lovely magnesium boost!
That’s why, when clients come to me and jokingly ask ‘are you going to tell me I need to give up chocolate’, the answer is nearly always ‘NEVER’.
This delicious article is by By Claire Stone, Featured in the Snack Edition of Healthy Mama Magazine
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