One of the misconceptions about healthy diets is that we have to forsake what tastes good in the pursuit of better health and trimmer waistlines. That simply isn’t true.
Making some educated choices can guarantee a healthy diet without the need to deny yourself the enjoyment of taste. That is true of the perennial favorite – chocolate.
Commercial ‘processed’ chocolate is made extremely palatable and addictive by the addition of refined sugars and fats. As a result, it is also laden with calories, which of course makes it one of the banes of a dieter’s existence.
On the other hand, chocolate in its raw state – cacao or cocoa – is free of those added sugars, fats and preservatives. And there is an additional health benefit with raw chocolate – because it contains several antioxidants, consuming a more natural chocolate product in moderation is far kinder on your heart.
For those with a sweet tooth, here are some deliciously tasty alternatives to chocolate that will be kind to your body and promote better heart health.
For those who enjoy the taste of a chocolatey spread, a switch from a refined butter like Nutella to a healthier option made from natural carob or unsweetened chocolate will not only reward you with satisfying taste but deliver health benefits.
Beyond The Equator exclusive Chocolate butter also benefits from a recipe of seed varieties that are allergen-free, while delivering that rich chocolate taste that you’re craving.
Known by the ancient Greeks for its health benefits, carob is the produce of the carob tree. Sweet and naturally occurring, carob is a perfect alternative to chocolate and is available in a range of forms including powder, chips, and syrup. Without the high levels of processed sugar and fat associated with chocolate, carob has clear benefits for the health-conscious and those who are watching their weight. For migraine sufferers, carob is a perfect alternative as it is free of a migraine-triggering compound that can be found in cocoa, the base ingredient of chocolate.
Mix powdered carob into milkshakes, fudge brownies or cakes and use carob chips in cookies. The sweetness of the carob will satisfy a sugar craving without holding back on the taste.
Believed to have stemmed from the ancient Mayan civilization of Central America, cocoa is the basic constituent of processed chocolate. Naturally low in sugar and fat and packed with anti-oxidants which promote heart health, cocoa can be mixed into a drinking chocolate or smoothie, or sprinkled over desserts to give that chocolate zing.
For those seeking moderation without having to forego traditional chocolate altogether, consider dark chocolate as an alternative. The general ‘rule of thumb’ with dark chocolate selection is, the higher the cacao content the better. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate actually is, the more cacao is present. Aim for a dark chocolate brand with 70% or more cacao content. This means a far lower sugar content and higher anti-oxidant level – ideal for both your waist and your heart.
Increase Health Benefits without Decreasing Enjoyment
Following a healthy diet program doesn’t mean that you have to make compromises on taste and food enjoyment. Change your mindset, and consider making some simple changes to your food plan. You can achieve your diet goals and increase your overall health without denying your taste buds.