If you’re anything like me, the greatest thing about Easter is the chocolate.
The good news is that chocolate can be good for your health. Thanks to the antioxidants in cocoa beans, chocolate has been linked to lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Chocolate also improves mood and reduces stress because it contains phenylethylamine, a brain chemical released during moments of emotional euphoria (like when you fall in love, or have sex).
The not-so-good news is that chocolate is a high calorie food, and the health benefits of chocolate come from eating around 7.5 grams a day (in other words – only about a square of chocolate).
Given that a square of chocolate over Easter is not particularly realistic, how else can you minimise the downside?
- The darker the chocolate the better. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of cocoa, whereas milk and white chocolate contains higher levels of sugar and chemicals. 70% cocoa or higher is a good benchmark.
- Drink water. If you over-indulge, upping your daily water consumption is the single most effective means of ‘de-toxing’ the body.
- Don’t skip breakfast, as this is only going to lead you to overindulge later in the day.
The most important thing to remember is that Easter is a time to enjoy yourself. Calorie counting and diet paranoia shouldn’t deny anyone that pleasure.