One of the ways we enjoy Lekkco Belgian Dark Chocolate Spread is at breakfast – spooning it into oatmeal, topped on toast, or baked into muffins. We’ve all heard that dark chocolate has health benefits, but does it matter when we eat it? We asked a dietitian to find out.
Is dark chocolate healthy?
Dark chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the seeds of the fruit from the cocoa tree. The actual cocoa bean is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, flavanols and polyphenols – compounds found in fruits, tea, coffee, wine and YES chocolate. Antioxidants help your body fight free radical damage that might occur from a variety of environmental stressors such as pollution, smoke, and even eating a less than healthy diet. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and have been connected to reducing blood pressure.
The key here is the more processed the cocoa bean, the less antioxidants survive, and the more sugar is likely added – so dark chocolate is best!
What about for breakfast? Is timing everything?
While there isn’t an extensive amount of evidence on the timing of your dark chocolate – there is some that hints breakfast might be the BEST time for chocolate! Studies have suggested that dark chocolate is “brain food” due to its association with better cognitive function, including memory processing1. They’ve even suggested that flavanols specifically (the antioxidants in dark chocolate) can improve thinking and memory in older adults 2,3. Dark chocolate has even been associated with improved circadian rhythm and adjustment to jet lag in animal studies4.
So, if you’re looking for an extra brain boost in the morning ahead of a big workday or school day, or even recovering from some jet lag – dark chocolate for breakfast may be the way to go!
As with all things, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation and should not displace a healthy breakfast, instead it should complement one! Consider adding it to your plain Greek yogurt or oatmeal for some extra flavor, shaving it onto your breakfast bowl, spreading it on whole grain toast alongside some berries for a double dose of antioxidants, or blending a spoonful into your smoothie.
Thank you to Natalia Kot, MHSc, RD for answering our darkest, chocolatiest questions!