Chocolate for Health

Chocolate for Health – as Good as it Gets

 Chocolate for Health as good as it gets – Do you know that chocolate was first used as a drink in Mexico 1,900 years before Christ?

The Maya and Aztec cultures are attributed with the discovery of the ‘chocolate bean’, and it was brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 15th century.

Obviously the taste was appreciated and perhaps also some of the effects like being mildly stimulating led to it becoming ever more popular and its consumption has spread to every country in the world.

Edible chocolate is made by roasting and grinding cacao seeds to form a powder which is then usually taken as a hot drink, eaten as a stand-alone treat or mixed with other foods to provide a flavouring.

Need to know more about Chocolate for Health?

We now know a lot more about the nutritional value of chocolate. For example – 100-grams of milk chocolate is an excellent source of riboflavin, vitamin B12 and the dietary minerals: manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Chocolate is a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron.

The following recipe for a main course uses chocolate and beans providing a range of potential health benefits:

  • protects against cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and cancer
  • lowers cholesterol
  • regulates blood sugar
  • supports bone health & weight loss

and is a mild antidepressant and stimulant.


Bean and Chocolate Chilli (serves 1)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil                              ½ red onion, chopped

1 small clove garlic, chopped                         ½ small red chilli, finely sliced

100ml passata`                                               80ml (or more if needed) veg stock

200g canned red kidney beans                      10g dark chocolate

100% cocoa solids shaved                             ½ tsp ground cumin

Sea salt flakes                                                freshly ground black pepper

A squeeze of lime


Heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes until soft.  Add garlic and chilli and cook for a few minutes more.  Add the passata, stock, beans, chocolate, cumin, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the squeeze of lime.  Serve with steamed rice.

A wonderfully warming, tasty meal with all the health benefits of beans and chocolate!

Healthy Regards,

edinburgh nutrition Team