Chocolate is a favourite treat of many – and we hear a lot about its antioxidant properties. But is it really good for us? Can we eat it when we are trying to lose pregnancy weight? Does it contain many vitamins? And what about the calories?
As with all healthy eating plans, chocolate is a great sweet treat – but in moderation! Below, we take a look at chocolate, what it’s made from, why it tastes so good and whether or not it is good for us.

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate is a sweet candy made from cocoa beans, found in the pods that hang from cocoa trees. Cocoa beans are roasted, ground, processed and sometimes added to other ingredients to create a variety of chocolate products, such as cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and commercial chocolate bars.
Cocoa beans produce two key ingredients – pure cocoa, which is the pure chocolate, and cocoa butter, which is the fat from the chocolate. Often, commercial chocolate bars have added cocoa butter, as it helps to keep the chocolate smooth. Cocoa butter also absorbs sugar easily along with other flavours, giving the chocolate more flavour.
Pure cocoa made from cocoa beans is high in vitamins E and B. However, in most modern commercial chocolates, there are only negligible quantities of these vitamins, due to the numerous processes that the cocoa bean goes through before it is palatable.

What makes chocolate taste good?

Milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate contains around 30% fat. And chocolate tastes good because it contains fat – fat is something that makes food products taste better, and in the case of chocolate, fat also gives chocolate a smooth texture.
Chocolate is made in such a way that it is a solid at room temperature, meaning that it can easily be stored – but its melting point is just under the temperature of the human body. That means that when chocolate is put into the mouth, it starts to melt on the tongue, which helps to release the flavours and aromas of it – and this is what makes chocolate taste so good.

But why does it make us feel good?

Chocolate tastes good – we all know that. But it can also put a smile on your face, and there are two reasons for this. It contains two stimulants, theobromine and caffeine – in fact, 100g of chocolate contains the same levels of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.
Stimulants give us more energy, and it is these stimulants combined with the sugar in chocolate that make us feel happy. In fact, it’s known that when you eat chocolate, dark chocolate especially, your brain releases “happy chemicals” which will make you feel content.

Does chocolate contain antioxidants?

Chocolate does indeed contain antioxidants. The flavonoids contained in chocolate, in particular in dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder, have been found to have antioxidant qualities. However, when you eat chocolate, you’ll consume antioxidants but you’ll also consume fat and sugar – whereas when you eat fruit and vegetables, you’ll consume antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals and you’ll also be skipping on the fat and sugar.
In general, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. The lighter the chocolate, the more fat it will contain (fat makes chocolate lighter in colour). It will also include more calcium, and it will be higher in calories. In terms of which chocolate you should choose, dark chocolate contains less fat, less sugar and fewer calories. It also contains more antioxidants, as the more cocoa solids a chocolate bar contains, the more antioxidants it contains.
As with all “treat” food, you can still enjoy chocolate – just enjoy it in moderation. That way, you can enjoy your chocolate without overloading on calories. You can see our own range of Healthy Mummy dark chocolate treats here which come in mint essence dark chocolate or whole almonds wrapped in dark chocolate.
If you are ready to lose weight then the Lose Baby Weight plans offer a healthy and safe exercise and diet routine.

And don’t forget to check out our current promotions and discounts page to see what specials we have on this week on our Healthy Mummy product range