There are two kinds of food. Food that we love eating and food that is healthy for us. Sometimes, there occurs an intersection between these two groups like in the case of chocolate. Most of us love eating chocolate and for some of us, chocolate may even be our favorite comfort food. We may try to appease our guilt of consuming chocolate by telling ourselves that it has numerous health benefits. Although this is partly true, it really depends on the type of chocolate we’re eating. Most store-bought chocolate bars have a high calorie content and we’re only kidding ourselves by thinking it’s healthy. If you love chocolate but want to ensure you’re consuming the best type, read on.
Why Is Chocolate Regarded As Healthy?
It is essential to understand that it’s not the chocolate we enjoy but rather the ingredient of cocoa in it that is healthy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds. It’s high in plant compounds called cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on heart disease risks, as well as on blood flow to the brain.” Although chocolate contains cocoa, it may also contain other components that make it unhealthy to consume. Keep the below listed pointers in mind when you go chocolate shopping.
1. Bitter, Darker Chocolate Is Better
The darker the chocolate the better. While checking the ingredients of the chocolate ensure that cocoa and cocoa butter have been listed in the highest quantities. It is recommended that we consume chocolate with over 60% of cocoa. These chocolates will usually have a bitter taste which means there is a lesser sugar content making it healthier. Avoid consuming milk chocolates and white chocolate as they have a higher fat content and lesser cocoa.
2. Take Note Of The Expiration Date And Wrapping Quality
Dark chocolate can stay good for about one year provided it’s stored properly. Check the date of expiration before buying the chocolate. Chocolate that is produced by large manufactures tend to have longer shelf lives which may take a hit on its quality and flavor. Also make a note of how the chocolate is wrapped. Chocolate that’s well wrapped with foil and then with a secondary wrapper is far less likely to spoil than chocolate that has only one layer of wrapping.
3. Chocolate Shouldn’t Be ‘Dutched’
Before buying chocolate, look out for the word “dutch cocoa” on the list of ingredients. Some chocolate manufacturer’s subject the cocoa to a process called ‘dutching’. During this process, the cocoa is treated with an alkali in order to to give it a milder taste, smoother appearance, and darker color. Cocoa that is made to go through this process loses a lot of its nutritional value.
4. Know Which Ingredients Chocolate Should Contain
Many chocolate brands parade their chocolate product based on a unique quality usually associated to texture, color or taste. For example, if your chocolate brand says “extra creamy”, they may have used an emulsifier to achieve this desired effect. If you’re looking for high quality dark chocolate, avoid those that have used a large number of ingredients you don’t recognize.
5. Where To Buy Chocolate
Find a natural store that sources organically made chocolate. Organically grown cocoa should be grown with lesser exposure to pesticides and fertilizers. Organically made chocolate is also less likely to contain any many unnecessary added ingredients. Purchasing chocolate from stores that exclusively make them may also be another option to consider. These exclusive stores might be able to provide you with information about how the chocolate is made.