Calling all sweet-toothed chocoholics out there (and yes, I am a self-professed member of the club). Did you know that there’s more to chocolate than the run of the mill supermarket varieties? The ones which often include low levels of cocoa, cow’s milk and high level of refined sugar? Cow’s milk and refined sugar, whilst being somewhat tantalising to your taste buds, are well documented as being not good for your health.
The health benefits of high quality (particularly dark) chocolate have received much media coverage. One study in 2013 (The Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index by Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD; Sabrina Koperski, BS; Halbert L. White, PhD) found that adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often.
Another study suggested that moderate chocolate consumption may lower the risk of stroke in men. (Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke, Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, Jarmo Virtamo, MD and Alicja Wolk, DMSc).
According to Elsevier’s eye-opening infographic ‘What science says about chocolate’ the breadth of medicinal effects chocolate has on health range from the prevention of cardiovascular disease through to diseases of “aging”.
So, it seems there’s plenty to be positive about when it comes to the sweet brown treat then. And luckily, the good news is that it doesn’t take hard work to unearth some super healthier varieties of your favourite snack. There are many non-dairy alternative options available which are suitable for vegan, vegetarians and those looking for dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO-free options. I’ve picked out some of my favourite brands for you to try…
- Conscious Chocolate
UK-based Conscious Chocolate credit themselves as original raw vegan chocolate, was established in 2004. Their organic chocolate combines premium quality and health without compromising taste. Ideal for vegetarians and vegans alike, these vegan chocolate bars are entirely hand-made and hand-wrapped, offering that extra little bit of luxury. Available in a range of flavours from mint hint to essential orange, and from love potion to the dark side, there’s flavour to match each mood.
- iQ Organic Chocolate
Stirling-based iQ’s range of organic chocolate is made from beans are specially selected from the Rio Negro Valley Satipo region in Peru, where they have retained their genuine Criolle varieties. iQ use the organically-grown, ethically-sourced pure Criollo, and the flavour is intoxicating. With a range of tempting flavours from Cocoa nib crunch to Plush peppermint, there’s a bar for all tastes.
- Beyond Dark
Beyond Dark’s ‘MomentsofPleasure’ range of dark chocolate drops are rich in natural antioxidants & delicious flavour. Perfect if you are gluten, wheat, dairy intolerant, and if you need to avoid nuts. This range is also vegan friendly.
Amsterdam based Lovechock’s range of raw chocolate is made by hand from organic, raw cacao from Ecuador. Instead of being roasted, the beans are cold ground. That’s why Lovechock is a natural source of flavonoids. Their chocolate is is dairy free, soy free and gluten free, contains no refined sugars, is sweetened with coconut blossom sugar and can contain traces of nuts.
- Wei of Chocolate
US-based Wei of Chocolate have taken chocolate to a whole new level with their bars. Created with dark, organic fair trade cacao they have beautifully blended with hand-collected flower essences. But why flower essences? Flower remedies are some of the best natural stress relievers around. They help to bring us back to natural state of balance, gently moving us towards more joy, peace, love, inspiration and higher energy, while dissolving imbalances in our systems that are the roots of stress. *Sigh* sure sounds like pure bliss to me…