Choosing The Right Healthy Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolates can be good for you. By choosing chocolate wisely, you can actually reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the primary cause of death in the industrialized world. More importantly, if you give healthy chocolate as a gift, you can now blend the emotional lift that chocolates give with a genuine health benefit.

Dark Chocolate Is Healthier

First of all, you need to understand why chocolate can be healthy. Raw cocoa has more antioxidants than red winecake-436987_640 and green tea. Cocoa is also teeming with bioflavonoids, particularly epicatechin, which is absorbed at high levels. This compound increases blood flow in the arteries. Chocolate is also rich in magnesium, which affects nerve transmission, as well as chromium, which helps control blood sugar. Chocolate is high in fat, but the fat itself is largely oleic acid; this healthy fat is also found in olive oil.

After harvesting at the peak of ripeness, the pods are split with a machete to expose the beans. They are then covered with banana leaves and left to ferment for 5 days, after which they are dried in the sun and roasted. The husk is removed to produce cocoa nibs. These are milled with large granite slabs, making the non-alcoholic chocolate liquor. Cocoa butter is the fat in the liquor. It is solid at room temperature, but readily melts into your mouth. The butter is extracted, and the dried solids are turned into cocoa powder.

Not All Chocolates Are Created Equal

Cocoa is created with different butter content by varying the press time. Sometimes, the powder is made more alkaline to offset some of the natural acids of the bean through what is called Dutch processing. The cocoa particle size in a bar is reduced by refining. Conching blends sugar with the cocoa. Tempering aligns the crystals, and then the chocolate is cooled and is ready for consumption.

Know that all chocolate is not made equal. In order for you to maximize the health effect from your dark chocolate, you would want your bars to have the richest concentration of chocolate liquor. The percentage of chocolate liquor is proudly displayed on the labels of quality chocolate bars. Unsweetened baking chocolate has the highest percentage, followed by bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate. Organic chocolates are the healthiest, as they have no pesticide residue.

Avoid chocolates that are high in sugar. Read the ingredient label. If sugar is listed first, do not buy it. Refined carbohydrates are responsible for a slew of health problems, including diabetes and obesity. Favor other sweeteners that are more slowly absorbed, like barley malt or evaporated can juice. If you see that the chocolate is sweetened with sorbitol, eat it in moderation as sorbitol can act as a laxative. Do not eat any chocolate with hydrogenated fat, and avoid milk chocolate as it only adds saturated fat to your diet.

Always Eat In Moderation With Dark Chocolate

Finally, once you have found a rich dark chocolate, eat it slowly and savor it well. Let it melt on your tongue and appreciate the complexity of flavors present. Allow it to stimulate your endorphins. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to dark chocolate; do not eat too much but enjoy this sensuous and healthy addition to your diet.

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