Cocoa-licious

Cocoa-licious

 

Few things say ‘Be My Valentine’ better than a big box of chocolates. But if you’re a health-conscious foodie, you might not indulge as often as you’d like. This Valentine’s Day, though, chocolate doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure – in fact, if you choose the right variety it could even be good for you.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the fruit of the cocoa tree. Cocoa itself isn’t all that bad for you: it’s a good source of antioxidants and flavonoids, which contribute to heart health. The problem is that raw cocoa is bitter and chalky, and doesn’t taste that great on its own. So chocolate manufacturers add sugar, milk and a bunch of additives, which doesn’t do much for the nutritional value.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some healthy chocolate on Valentine’s Day, though. For starters, you can whip up some raw chocolate truffles using dates, coconut oil, nuts, coconut and raw, unprocessed cacao powder. Or combine the cacao with banana, raspberry and avocado or nut butter in a food processor to create a delish – and nutritious – chocolate mousse. If you are going to buy chocolate, simply opt for the darkest variety you can find: the higher the cocoa percentage the better it is for you (and the less you’ll eat in one sitting).