I’ve just blogged about ginger. Prior to that I blogged about garlic. These were all for a series to do with spices and herbs from nature that actually have the most incredible medicinal benefits almost irrespective of the form that you ingest them in.

In the ginger blog I mentioned chocolate. Say it with much reverence now, ‘Choc o lutttt’, ‘CHOCOLATE!’ Would it surprise you to know that real chocolate too has the most incredible healthy (yup!) benefits too?

It’s true! We all know the memes about how blah, blah, chocolate is a vegetable, chocolate is actually good for you; the good news here is, that, this too is true. However! Yes, there’s a caveat that comes with chocolate that’s not there with garlic or ginger. There has to be, of course, nothing that tastes this good could possibly come without one.

And the caveats are these:

Depending on who you’re speaking to – the Americans, the British or the French, what you may think is chocolate, is not actually chocolate, but ‘candy’.

The American FDA requires a minimum of 10% cocoa solids for it to be called chocolate; the FSA in the U.K. calls for 35% cocoa solids and the French call for 70%. This means that unless you have those minimum percentages in your sweet treat, you’re not actually eating chocolate, but candy.

This also means that you won’t be gaining any of the purported health benefits that I mentioned earlier. It’s not all bad news though!

  • Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one third.
  • Chocolate has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protect against tooth decay.
  • Research points to flavanols, mentioned below – substances that help lower blood pressure and vascular function, improve cognitive function and even provide UV protection for our skin. Dark chocolate has a higher proportion of flavanols than milk chocolate.
  • These have physiological effects on the body and are linked to serotonin levels in the brain.

Here’s the nitty gritty stuff: Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants. They also contain alkaloids such as theobromine, phenethylamine and caffeine. The presence of theobromine renders chocolate toxic to some animals, especially dogs and cats, so please don’t think you’re doing your Snookums or Ruff any favours by giving them chocolate – you’re actually feeding them the equivalent of poison.

I’ll be blogging more about chocolate in the future – as it’s a vaaaaast subject – but for now, I’ll be spreading the good word around the water cooler and perhaps starting a ‘A Pound for the Blogista’s Health’ fund in order for me to be able to buy real chocolate in order to improve my cognitive function and therefore allowing me to keep on bringing you such pearls of wisdom. Think it’ll work? Let’s give it a week.