Acting Deputy Director of the Nutrition Department at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Veronica Quartey, has encouraged Ghanaians to consume more unsweetened cocoa products and chocolates.
She said unsweetened cocoa products contained elements that helped to boost the immune system and that two to three teaspoons of raw cocoa powder as a drink in a day was good for the body.
“Cocoa is a plant-based food which is rich in micronutrients such as minerals, iron, zinc and magnesium essential to the growth of the body,” she said.
The nutritionist told the Ghana News Agency that chocolates contain good proteins and carbohydrates, stating, “The type of chocolates you choose to eat, whether sweetened or unsweetened will determine the type of nutrients that you get.”
Mrs Quartey said some substances found in chocolates relaxed the blood vessels and helped to reduce hypertension, stroke and type two diabetes while keeping the body energised.
She urged the public to include cocoa powder in their daily diets and eat chocolates in moderation.
Chocolates, especially quality dark chocolates, are said to be rich in fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and loaded with nutrients that can positively affect an individual’s health.
Nutritionists say the seed of the cacao tree, is one of the best sources of antioxidants, which could lower cholesterol levels, prevent memory decline, improve one’s health and lower the risk of heart disease.
Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants and people who are seeking 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 sweet German chocolate.
In Ghana, Chocolate Day, also known as National Chocolate Day, was instituted by the Ghana Tourism Authority in 2005 to boost the domestic consumption of Ghanaian chocolate and other cocoa-based products, to promote domestic tourism.
The Day, which coincides with Valentine’s Day, is targeted at giving a healthy orientation to the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
This year’s event starts from 12th to 22nd February 2022, under the theme: “Eat Chocolate, Stay Healthy, Grow Ghana,” with the sub-theme, “Our Chocolate, Our Health, Our Wealth.”
The National Chocolate Day is also aimed at shifting the attention of the youth from engaging in sexual activities during Valentine’s Day celebration to exchanging gifts, especially chocolate. Activities to mark the week-long celebration started with a cocoa health walk on the Aburi Mountains on Saturday 5th February 2022.
The GTA on February 11 donated cocoa products to the Chief Imam, the National Mosque, and will also donate to some Churches across the country on Sunday, 13th February 2022.
The Authority will on Monday, February 14 hold a float with the Double-decker City tour coach through some principal streets in Accra to sensitise the public on the health and economic benefits of chocolate and other cocoa-based products.
A Chocolate Day event will be held at the Dubai Expo, a Durbar and an Exhibition of Chocolate and cocoa-based products at the Choco city, Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout near the Accra Mall as well as the premiering 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, 22nd February 2022.
Two Chocolate Cities have been set up at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra and Rattray Park in Kumasi to bring all chocolate entrepreneurs and processors together to display chocolate and cocoa products.