What Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Health?
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We all know that superfoods aren’t just the ones that you buy at the local fresh fruit and veg outlet. One of the best tasting forms of antioxidants lie conveniently tucked away inside a bar of good quality dark chocolate, and study after study has pointed that out to us. Chocolate is indeed good for more than just curing the blues, if you eat the RIGHT kind.
So What Dark Chocolate is Good for You and where does the goodness come from?
It’s all in the Cacao, the source of taste in this case. It packs loads of healthy chemicals such as flavonoids and theobromine, making the cacao bean an effective disease fighting bullet.
What are some of the benefits of Dark Chocolate?
- It reduces your risk of heart failure
- It can actually help you to lose weight – if you really NEED to get your chocolate fix in, then turning to DARK chocolate, instead of the bad-for-you milk version, you’ll find that you get satisfied sooner and won’t have to eat as much of it to hit the sweet spot.
- It helps to lower hypertension and improves blood flow
- It helps to regulate your cholesterol levels
But what is the difference between Cacao and Cocoa?
Cacao is the raw, natural form and Cocoa is essentially cacao in its roasted, ground form. Either one is good for you, just as long as you stick to dark chocolate and don’t gobble up pounds of milk chocolate.
That being said, White chocolate has no health benefits for you whatsoever.
So what Dark Chocolate is the best?
It basically comes down to the percentage of Cacao (which should preferably be more than 70%) and then secondly the Flavonoid levels. You need about 200 milligrams of cocoa flavonoids per day in order to gain the cardiovascular benefit from the chocolate.
The problem comes in when the cacao gets processed into chocolate, which diminishes its flavonoid content and when too much milk gets added, it inhibits the chocolate’s antioxidant effects.
So your best bet would be to stick with chocolate that has been minimally processed and has the minimal additives such as corn syrup, hydrogenated oil and artificial colors and flavors.
Our top picks for the cleanest and healthiest chocolates include:
1. Lindt Excellence 99% Cocoa Bar
Excellence 99% is a unique chocolate bar that brings you all the goodness, strength and richness of the cacao bean; it just tastes much better than the bean itself. Lindt Excellence has a superb texture and it melts in your mouth. It might be better suited for the sophisticated palate, but sure packs one hell of an antioxidant punch. It’s best enjoyed with some good quality coffee which will help bring out the bouquet of cocoa.
2. Lindt Excellence Supreme Dark Chocolate 90%
Another top quality, super dark chocolate bar from the masters of Swiss chocolate, the Lindt Excellence 90% is a great clean and healthy dark chocolate to turn to. It’s full bodied in taste and has been exceptionally crafted to be smooth, rich and balanced. It’s naturally gluten free and makes for a great pairing snack for a wine tasting.
3. Endangered Species Panther, Dark Chocolate 88%
Endangered Species Chocolates uses ethically sourced ingredients to bring you great tasting, quality dark chocolate, and in return they support species at risk of being endangered by your purchase. This all natural gourmet chocolate is 88% cocoa, which makes it a super-choice for your body and the future of the animals. The chocolate does more than taste great and pack health benefits, but it also help to support organizations such as the African Wildlife Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation.
4. Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Dark Bar Midnight Reverie 86%
Ghirardelli brings you this intense dark chocolate that delivers a luxurious taste of velvety smooth chocolate blended with some top quality ingredients such as dark cherries and dried plums. The bars are thin and delicate, effectively creating a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. They are naturally gluten free and crafted from high quality cacao beans, providing you with the perfect excuse to slip a sweet snack moment into your day. Coming in at 86% cacao, this bar delivers the ultimate dark chocolate intensity.
5. Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate Bar
With rich notes of dried figs and a mild peppery spiciness, the Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate Bar is much like a fine red wine, suited for the refined palate. The intense chocolate sensation will linger in your mouth and you’ll be happy to know that it’s a certified kosher product and is naturally gluten free. This is one for the world’s chocolate connoisseurs!
Whichever way you like to eat them, make sure that your dark chocolate treats always contain the highest possible cacao percentage, and rest assured that you’re having a guilt-free snack. We especially love the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate because while rewarding yourself with some sweet indulgence, you are also making a contribution towards saving endangered animals.
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