It’s Easter time! What better way to celebrate than to spend time with family and friends, give thanks for what Easter really means, and eat some chocolate.

Chocolate is one of the world’s most favourite foods and recent research is showing that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can be good for us. Because it is made from plants, chocolate contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from the flavonoids, which act as polyphenol antioxidants, protecting our body from aging caused by free radicals.

Research has demonstrated that the quality and quantity of antioxidants in chocolate is relatively high when compared to other high-antioxidant foods and dark chocolate contains about eight times the polyphenol antioxidants found in strawberries. Having 65 percent or higher cocoa content, dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants, and has far more antioxidants than white or milk chocolate.

The earliest record of chocolate was several thousand years ago in the South American rain forests, where this ideal climate provides all the necessary ingredients for cultivation of the Cacao Tree. Worshipped by the Mayan civilisation the Cacao Tree was believed to be of divine origin, hence it’s generic Latin name meaning ‘Food of the Gods’. The Mayan word Cacao was corrupted into ‘Cocoa’ by Europeans. The Aztecs, who came after the Mayan’s, also prized the beans and used them as currency. In 1528, Cortez brought chocolate to Europe. The first chocolate factories soon opened in Spain. and by the early 17th century chocolate powder, from which the drink was made, was being exported to other parts of Europe

The Cocoa beverage made from the powder became popular, first in Italy then France, the Netherlands, Germany and finally, in about 1520 it arrived in England with the first Chocolate House opening in London in 1657, with many others to follow. In the early 1700’s English colonists carried chocolate with them to England’s colonies in North America, which later became Canada and the United States, and are now the worlds largest consumers of chocolate.

Eating 40 to 50 grams a day of plain dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 70% or more, can be beneficial to your health. Look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavourings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings, which are just adding sugar and fat that can erase many of the benefits you get from eating the chocolate.

With all the known health benefits chocolate can provide for us it makes sense to include a small amount in our diet. Happy Easter … some chocolate!

Author's Bio: 

A Product Consultant and Member of The AIM Companies for over twenty years, Joanne Jackson takes pride in sharing her knowledge of nutrition and the AIM products with others. As an advocate of healthy eating and proper nutrition, Joanne understands that the choices we make, and choosing them wisely, is the key to wellness. Sign up for her informative free newsletter by visiting