Acting Deputy Director of the Nutrition Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Veronica Quartey, has encouraged Ghanaians to consume more unsweetened chocolate and cocoa products.
He said that unsweetened cocoa products contained elements that help boost the immune system and that two to three teaspoons of raw cocoa powder as a drink a day was good for the body.
“Cocoa is a plant-based food that is rich in micronutrients such as minerals, iron, zinc and magnesium essential for the growth of the body,” he said.
The nutritionist told the Ghana News Agency that the chocolates contained good protein and carbohydrates, stating that “the type of chocolates you choose to eat, whether sweetened or unsweetened, will determine the type of nutrients you get.”
Ms Quartey said that some substances found in chocolates relaxed blood vessels and helped reduce high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes, while keeping the body energized.
He urged the public to include cocoa powder in their daily diets and to eat chocolate in moderation.
Chocolates, especially quality dark chocolates, are said to be rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and packed with nutrients that can positively affect a person’s health.
Nutritionists say that the seed of the cacao tree is one of the best sources of antioxidants, which may lower cholesterol levels, prevent memory decline, improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants and people looking to lose or maintain weight are encouraged to eat chocolate in moderation.
The types of chocolate are; milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder and German sweet chocolate.
In Ghana, Chocolate Day, also known as National Chocolate Day, was instituted by the Ghana Tourism Authority in 2005 to boost domestic consumption of Ghanaian chocolate and other cocoa-based products, to promote domestic tourism.
The Day, which coincides with Valentine’s Day, is aimed at giving a healthy orientation to the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
This year’s event starts from February 12-22, 2022, under the theme: “Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana”, with the sub-theme “Our Chocolate, Our Health, Our Wealth”.
National Chocolate Day also aims to divert young people’s attention from engaging in sexual activities during the Valentine’s Day celebration to the exchange of gifts, especially chocolate. Activities to mark the week-long celebration began with a cocoa health walk in the Aburi Mountains on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
On February 11, GTA donated cocoa products to the Chief Imam, the National Mosque, and will also donate to some churches across the country on Sunday, February 13, 2022.
On Monday, February 14, the Authority will launch a float with the double-decker City Tour coach through some of the main streets of Accra to raise public awareness of the health and economic benefits of chocolate and other cocoa-based products.
A Chocolate Day event will be held at Dubai Expo, a Durbar and Exhibition of chocolate and cocoa-based products in Choco City, Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout near the Accra Mall, as well as the premiere of “Heroes of Africa , Tetteh Quarshie”. ”, at the Silverbird cinema.
Another Chocolate Expo will be held at the Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel in Accra on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
Two chocolate cities have been established at Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra and Rattray Park in Kumasi to bring together all chocolate entrepreneurs and processors to showcase chocolate and cocoa products.