What dark chocolate is good for you?
Now that you know all kinds of facts about chocolate - the different varieties, where to buy it, and more - you’ll be happy to hear you can consume it freely too (ok, well, in moderation.) Dark chocolate is filled with great ingredients to help you lead a healthy life.
To begin, cocoa beans contain flavonoids, a class of plant nutrients. In plants, they provide protection from environmental toxins and repair damage. When we consume them, they help cells resist damage.
The main type of flavonoid in cocoa beans is flavanols. These antioxidant rich compounds can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and brain, and protect skin against sun damage. To ensure your chocolate is high in flavanols, be sure to select varieties that have not been “dutched” or processed with alkali. Also, look for bars greater than 70 percent, like Hampton Chocolate Factory’s Artisan Pure Dark Chocolate Bar.
Dark chocolate also is packed with minerals like potassium, zinc and selenium. It also communicates with the brain. It can help you feel more full if you take one square before and after a meal. It also contains PEA, a chemical that stimulates the release of endorphins. This can help make you feel better.
Although dark chocolate is high in saturated fat, it contains oleic acid, which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat. To ensure you don’t overdo it, choose dark chocolate with fewer added ingredients, like marshmallows and caramel. These only add fat and calories. Enjoy one ounce a few times per week.
Here are some great health packed chocolate bars:
- Valrhona - 70 percent French Chocolate
- Sweetriot - 80 percent Dark Chocolate
- Godiva -85 percent Extra Dark Chocolate Bar
- Hampton Chocolate Factory - Artisan Pure Dark Chocolate Bar