Just Eat The Chocolate!

Just Eat The Chocolate! (1) - ReLacto

You may have heard how chocolate can be detrimental to our health in general, perhaps that it is fattening, contains loads of sugar, or is high in calories. While this may be true to a certain extent, it really depends on how much you eat and what kind of chocolate it is. Just as having one bowl of salad won’t make you healthy, having one piece of chocolate won’t ruin your whole diet. In fact, chocolate can be beneficial to our health. The key to eating, not only for chocolate, is moderation.

Before we get into the benefits of eating chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, let’s look at what chocolate is at its very core.

What is chocolate?

In simple terms, chocolate is made from cacao. The cacao tree bears pods which contain seeds or beans, also known as cacao. They are harvested, fermented, and dried, in that order, before they are roasted. The way they are processed and produced to be the chocolate we know is by finely grounding the beans to a powder and then combining it with cocoa butter and a sweetener, usually sugar. 

The 3 basic types of chocolate are dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. To make dark chocolate, what you need is cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar. Add milk powder to that and you’ll get milk chocolate. And to get white chocolate, it is the same as milk chocolate, but without the cocoa powder. 

Dark chocolate is seen as relatively healthier than the other two types, while white chocolate is considered by some as not a true chocolate due to the absence of actual cocoa powder.

Benefits of dark chocolate

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which help to reduce damage to cells, and polyphenols which contain antioxidants and are said to aid in digestion. Not only that, it is also rich in flavanols, a plant chemical that helps in lowering blood pressure by improving blood flow and relaxing blood vessels, proving its importance to heart health. Furthermore, there have been studies that show how flavanols can increase insulin sensitivity. This potentially reduces the risk of diabetes.

With the higher content of cocoa in dark chocolate, consuming it rather than milk chocolate or white chocolate allows a higher intake of the goodness that cocoa brings. 

Why do we have cravings? And how do we reduce them?

Having a craving means we desire or have an appetite for something. We’ve all been there. We are human after all. Cravings are very common and happen for a reason. We could have a sweet tooth and crave something sugary, or the craving might be a sign of a certain deficiency. Sometimes, we even crave food because we’re stressed, which could lead to stress eating. But, more often than not, the reason behind our cravings is very straightforward. We could simply be hungry. 

And why do we get hungry? It could be because of a multitude of reasons. We might have missed a meal because of a lack of time or because we’re too busy that we do not realise the time. We might have eaten too little because we’re on a diet. Or, we might have been indulging in too many sugary treats that our bodies tell us to eat more.

To counter those cravings, here are some things you could do.

a) Ensuring sufficient protein intake during main meal times

This is especially true for breakfast. Protein is very filling. It provides high satiety as compared to carbohydrates or fats. So, including protein in your breakfast, about 20-30g, keeps you feeling fuller and could help you get to lunch time without feeling hungry. The same goes for lunch and dinner. By incorporating adequate protein portions to them, you will be more satisfied during each meal and this can reduce the need for snacking.

b) Allowing yourself to take protein-rich snacks in between meals

Snacking is, by no means, a bad thing. It is actually helpful in preventing people from overeating. However, the choice of snack plays a big role. Instead of a decadent dessert, opt for something rich in protein like yoghurt or milk, which do not tempt you the way sweet treats or processed carbohydrates do.

c) Taking sufficient fluids in a day

Just Eat The Chocolate! (3) - ReLacto

This may come to a surprise, but thirst can sometimes be confused for hunger. By getting enough fluids a day, the confusion can be prevented because drinking something actually helps us be fuller for longer. That is not to say that any fluids will do. Drinking more water and less carbonated, sugary drinks would be ideal as sugar makes us crave more. If you think water is boring, you could always make it interesting by having some tea, which is a good alternative as they have many health benefits too.

Breastfeeding and cravings

It is known that pregnant ladies get their random, and sometimes peculiar, cravings. However, mothers who breastfeed can have a hankering for food as well, though not as extreme as when they were pregnant. Breastfeeding mothers could crave for sweet and fatty food due to their baby’s need for milk, which is linked to a change in brain activity.

When it comes to breastfeeding, a low supply of breast milk is a typical worry. One way to boost the production of breast milk is by having healthy lactation meals. Here at Relacto, we offer the best meals for lactation from an amazing lactation diet menu. From green papaya to fish to dates, these ingredients are made into food and drinks such as fenugreek fish soup, mint and lemon marinated salmon, and black bean black sesame drink. All these are not only healthy and filling, they can also help to increase your breast milk supply. With the right meals and drinks, your breastfeeding journey would have never been so fulfilling. 
Now, our lactation diet menu may not contain chocolate. But, if chocolate is what you want, then just eat the chocolate! Just remember, everything in moderation!

 81 Tagore Lane, TAG A, #01-11 Singapore 787502 ♦ Booking : +65 6360 1000