Eat WellCan Chocolate Really Be Good for You? Prepare To Be Surprised!

Can Chocolate Really Be Good for You? Prepare To Be Surprised!

Sadly, there’s sometimes no way around it. Eating a healthy diet full of nutrients that will keep your body strong and avoiding unnecessary stuff like processed sugar and saturated fats isn’t easy. And it often means sacrificing some of the foods we love, like burgers, pizza, and chocolate, and replacing them with healthier yet far less tasty alternatives. And sometimes we go even a step further, supplementing our diet with all sorts of supplements and pharmaceuticals to give us what we need.

This is often the case with probiotics, as they can do absolute wonders for the body, especially the digestive system, yet they are difficult to come across in day-to-day food. Finding foods with probiotics isn’t easy, so many of us in need of that digestive boost resort to pills, which might do the trick, but also come with a myriad of harmful side effects and negative long-term health outcomes. There’s a reason that pills and medication are usually just things you take when you’re sick as a last resort, and not something that should be part of your daily health routine.

But what if there was a great, healthy, and natural source of probiotics that’s not only readily available but also something you’d be more than glad to introduce to your diet?

And it’s—you never would have guessed it—chocolate.

If you just did a double take, we don’t blame you. Chocolate is candy, after all, isn’t it? It’s junk food, packed with sugar—the type of thing your doctor and dentist always tell you to stay away from. It’s a treat for kids, not something that can possibly be healthy for us grown-ups, right?

When most of us enjoy chocolate as a sweet, delicious dessert, we forget that it actually comes from an incredibly rich and nourishing tropical fruit. The cocoa bean, native to South and Central America, has been used in traditional medications for thousands of years, dating back to times as early as the Aztec and Mayan Empires. Today, its health benefits are well established by decades of peer-reviewed research. The bean and its extract are an excellent source of a number of nutrients and minerals that are essential to the production of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, such as antioxidants (an aid to cellular metabolism), potassium (an essential nutrient for a healthy heart and steady blood pressure), flavonoids (another digestive aid that can reduce the risk of dietary-related conditions such as diabetes), and tryptophan (an amino acid that has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mental health).

But be careful—you can’t just run to your supermarket and start devouring chocolate bars like a kid and expect any health benefits! Much like so much of the food we eat today, the vast majority of readily available chocolate is incredibly processed, to the point that nearly all the healthy bits have been filtered out or are otherwise so diluted that you won’t get much from it. In fact, your average Hershey’s or Nestle’s chocolate bar is less than 10% cocoa. And what’s the rest of it? Well, probably not the stuff you want to be putting in your body! A lot of it is processed sugar (most chocolate has 3–4 times as much sugar as cocoa), and a bunch more is additives, preservatives, and other “natural flavors” that aren’t nearly as “natural” as they want you to believe.

And this is why chocolate gets a bad rep for being unhealthy. But we don’t think that’s fair—just because chocolate is a common ingredient in unhealthy candy doesn’t make it unhealthy by itself! Just like nobody would go say oranges are unhealthy because they’ve only had orange in Fanta and orange lollipops, let’s not label cocoa as unhealthy thanks to all the other stuff commercial chocolatiers add to it.

But while it’s fairly easy to stick away from Fanta and find freshly squeezed orange juice or even fresh oranges, finding fresh cocoa or chocolate products made from fresh cocoa is a bit trickier, at least here in the US. But fortunately, we’ve found an excellent place where you can find the goodness of fresh cocoa, readily available, tasty, and at an affordable price!

Introducing Fresh & Healthy Nutrient-Rich Chocolate from Belgium!

Any chocolate fan will tell you this right away: to find real chocolate, you need to look across the pond. It’s just one of those things that Europeans, Belgians in particular, make much better than we do here in the US. Though most premium Belgian chocolate brands might be known for their rich and delicious flavor, they usually aren’t known for their health benefits. Though, there’s no reason why that can’t be the case, and that’s exactly what Belgian chocolatier Bouchard Chocolate looked to create!

Founded in 1931 in the city of Ghent, the chocolate capital of Belgium, Bouchard has been perfecting the art of making healthy, nutrient-rich, yet delicious chocolate products for almost a hundred years. Known as the masters of dark chocolate, Bouchard’s signature Dark 72% Napolitains will redefine your mindset on chocolate, whether you think you like dark chocolate or not!

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If you think healthy, dark chocolate will be bitter, think again! The reason that your average dark chocolate bar you buy at the grocery store is bitter is because commercial chocolatiers take the cheap and lazy way of making dark chocolate. Processing the cocoa in the same commercialized way they always do, removing all the nutrients and much of the flavor, and simply removing the milk and adding less sugar to make it “dark” chocolate.

But that’s not what dark chocolate should be! High-quality dark chocolate, like Bouchard’s, retains the original goodness and flavor of the cocoa bean. Rather than removing so many parts of the cocoa bean from the recipe and replacing it with milk, butter, excessive sugar, vanilla, soy, and other additives, Bouchard’s builds each bar around the flavor of cocoa. And nothing else—Bouchard’s Dark 72% Napolitains contain only two other ingredients: sugar (from beets, and only half the amount used in milk chocolate), and sunflower lecithin, which is a healthy, vitamin-rich oil that Bouchard’s uses as the base of the chocolate bar, holding everything together.

This leaves Bouchard’s signature chocolate bar with a simple, sweet taste of chocolate in your mouth, and all the goodness of the cocoa bean for your body to digest! Beyond the flavor and health benefits, another signature of Bouchard’s bar is the ridge-shaped texture of each bar, which resembles something like a potato chip. But there’s a science behind this; it isn’t just done for a unique appearance! The ridge-shaped surface of each bar means that each bite of chocolate has more surface area and thus, more chocolate for your tongue to taste when a piece first enters your mouth. Our tongue and its taste buds are accustomed to eating food that’s not flat (after all, most food isn’t), so we are wired to absorb more taste from oddly shaped foods.

Probiotic Supplement or Chocolate Bar? How About Both!

Eating a delicious bar of Bouchard’s freshly made chocolate packs not only the delicious taste of natural, unprocessed cocoa, but also its healthy goodness. But for those who really want to aid their digestive system with an even more powerful dose of probiotics, Bouchard’s has a special solution. And it’s not medication or a supplement, but it sort of is!

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The latest edition to Bouchard’s line of chocolates is Probiotic Belgian Dark Chocolate Napolitains, which mixes additional probiotics into the simple, natural mixture of their signature chocolate bar. Adding Bifidobacterium Longum, a very effective probiotic strain found in supplements at the pharmacy, into the mixture using a state-of-the-art method creates a product that is both a delicious chocolate bar, and a probiotic supplement, equivalent to what you’d get at a health store!

Bifidobacterium Longum is a well-researched and highly tested probiotic strain, proven over decades of research to support immune health, digestive health, cholesterol levels, and reduce constipation and diarrhea. By eating a few pieces of Bouchard’s Probiotic Belgian Dark Chocolate Napolitains every day, you are, for all practical purposes, taking a probiotic supplement in the form of delicious chocolate! And much more, of course—rather than ingesting all the additives and synthetic ingredients that come with most over-the-counter supplements, you’re also getting the health benefits of natural cocoa, which includes even more natural compounds that boost positive bacterial activity in the stomach. Altogether, testing at Bouchard’s food labs has indicated that, when stored properly, each piece of chocolate contains over one billion natural probiotic cell cultures, measured at the best-before date which is significantly longer than dairy-based probiotic products!

And what’s more – these chocolates won’t break the bank like tons of craft European chocolates might. A whole bag of Probiotic Belgian Dark Chocolate Napolitains costs just 16.99, including 2-3 day priority shipping to anywhere in the US. That’s cheaper than a lot of craft chocolates, and certainly cheaper than most quality probiotic supplements! Head online to order yours today and start enjoying the deliciousness of top-tier Belgian chocolate with the health benefits of a probiotic supplement all in one.

* In partnership with our friends at Magrath Americas Inc* Photo courtesy of Magrath Americas Inc
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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