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LOVE BRITISH CHOCOLATE

We’re fortunate to have some great British suppliers of chocolate – Enjoy it this Easter, with all its potential health benefits!

The potential health benefits of chocolate stem from their antioxidant flavonoids. Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, and cacao is a rich source of flavan-3-ol, a type of flavonoid phytonutrient (plant-based nutrient). Other plants rich in flavanols, include apples, kale, onions and even red wine! Cacao however, is known to be a concentrated source.

 

A growing body of evidence is now associating the intake of flavan-3-ol with reduced risk of Cardiovascular disease and some Cancers. Specifically in promoting elasticity of blood vessels they’ve been shown to be beneficial in reducing blood pressure and increasing blood supply to the brain. Therefore they may also promote healthy ageing through reducing risk of Dementia and Stroke.

 

They’re digested in the small intestine (either whole or after having been broken down into smaller particles with further health benefits) or pass to the large intestine where they’re used by our gut bacteria for energy. You can read about the importance of looking after you gut bacteria here!

 

Of course these fabulous benefits can be out-weighed by the addition of other ingredients in chocolate to improve texture and taste. But don’t despair!

 

Dark chocolate, although with a little saturated fat from the cacao bean, is far lower in saturated fat and sugar, than milk chocolate. And, the more non-fat cacao solids the chocolate contains, the higher its flavonoid content.

 

A member of Love British Food and one of Britain’s most innovative chocolate brands, Montezuma’s produces a delicious range of chocolate and adheres to strong, ethical principles. Their chocolate comes from co-operations of small plantations in South America who re-invest in the local communities. They minimise impact on the environment through their biodegradable packaging (no plastic in sight!) and have raised over £60,000 for ‘Children on the Edge’, making a difference for marginalised children around the globe. Have a look at their fabulous Easter range!

Ailey Mae’s Raw chocolate is handmade in Scotland and available online. Never heated above 42degrees so preserves even higher levels of flavanoid antioxidants. She adds coconut butter and agave for a lovely mild cacao flavour.

Other Scottish chocolate producers to try are Cocoa Mountain from the Highlands, incorporating fresh Scottish ingredients and Chocolate Tree.

Chocolate; just another fabulous British product. Enjoy it this Easter!

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Dr Lucy Williamson Msc

 

I am a freelance registered Nutritionist working in greater London, to inform and inspire better health for all, through Nutrition. I would be delighted to hear from you! 

 

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