Can chocolate be a super food? It seems too good to be true! But there have been countless studies investigating the health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa…
In the latest series of Jamie’s Super Food Jamie visited Switzerland – the biggest chocolate-eating nation in the world. Swiss men live longer than anywhere else on the planet, while Swiss women’s life expectancy is sixth in the world. So does this mean that the dark stuff can play a part in a healthy, balanced diet?
WHICH TYPE IS HEALTHY?
Ultimately, it’s all about the type you choose, and how often you eat it. The health benefits are linked to its cocoa content – so always go for a quality bar with 70% or higher cocoa levels.
Cocoa contains flavonoids, which are thought to play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains. Even better, if you cook with quality cocoa powder, you can get all the health benefits of cocoa without any of the added fat or sugar in a bar (remember that low-cocoa milk and white chocolate contain much higher levels of sugar and saturated fat).
One study carried out on middle-aged and elderly Swedish women found that moderate, habitual chocolate eating was associated with a lower rate of heart failure. The biggest benefits were seen in women who ate one or two pieces per week. So, it seems that there can be a place for moderate amounts of it in a healthy, balanced diet!
9 STUNNING CHOCOLATE RECIPES
Here’s a selection of family-friendly recipes that make the most of those rich cocoa and dark flavours.
Fresh out of Jamie’s Super Food Family Classics cookbook, this epic porridge recipe means you can pack the goodness of cocoa into your breakfast, without all the sugar and saturated fat you’d get from actually adding chocolate. Winner!
These beautiful cocoa biscuits with cranberries and pistachios have the added bonus of being dairy free. Whip up a batch for awesome edible Christmas presents for friends and family.
A spoonful of cocoa adds lovely depth to sauces and stews, without any added sweetness. This veggie chilli is the perfect recipe to experiment with!
Another recipe from Jamie’s Super Food Family Classics, this healthy treat of avocado and dark chocolate on rye bread, topped with fresh berries and hazelnuts, is pure heaven.
Medjool dates are a delicious sweet treat, plus they’re also a great source of fibre and chloride, which help digestion. Pair with quality cocoa and pumpkin seeds for a burst of healthy energy.
Jazz up your usual flapjack recipe with dark chocolate, dried fruit, mixed seeds and nuts – delicious!
Full of texture and deep chocolate flavour, these dairy-free cocoa biscuits are the perfect cross between crunchy cookies and gooey brownies.
Made with a base of ground almonds and egg white, these elegant dark chocolate biscuits have lovely crunchy shells and soft middles. Perfect to enjoy with a warm cuppa on a cold winter’s day.
Simply stuff dates with a whole almond and dip in the best-quality dark chocolate you can find for a super-grown up sweet. Great petit fours for a special dinner.
For more tasty and nutritious meals for the family, head to Jamie’s Family Food hub.