There are not many things that can immediately trigger your taste buds, but chocolate is undoubtedly one of those palatable items that will make you lick your lips. Chocolate is usually considered junk food. But according to recent research, dark chocolate can be considered healthy junk food.
You’re probably aware that white chocolate and milk chocolate is loaded with fat and added sugar. While these might not be a good choice if you’re concerned about eating healthy, dark chocolate is the healthiest option because of its many health benefits and minimal risks.
What is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is less sweet chocolate made with a higher amount of cocoa solids(45-90%). In comparison, milk chocolate is made up of only 10-35% cocoa solids whereas white chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids at all.
It is bitter-sweet, as in cacao itself has a bitterness to it. Still, it is a great tasting treat for people who are on constricted diets. However, when prepared as a dip or additive with other foods, the bitter taste can be noticeably more appealing to all.
The good news is, due to the high concentration of cocoa solids, the most prominent ingredient containing antioxidants and minerals, dark chocolate has significant nutrient properties for the body making it a superfood.
How Is Dark Chocolate Made?
Dark chocolate is sourced from the cacao tree which produces cocoa beans. The cacao beans are picked and processed where its basic ingredients — cocoa powder and cocoa butter — are separated.
Most dark chocolates add the cocoa butter back in with the cocoa powder, which helps to liquidate the chocolate before it cools. With the addition of some sugar or alternative sweetener, the dark chocolate will be ready to eat.
The composition of dark chocolate varies depending on the brand. However, high-quality dark chocolates are made of 70% or higher cocoa solids. The higher the cocoa percentage, the healthier it is. Due to higher cocoa content, carbs in dark chocolate are comparatively lower which makes it a great dessert choice for low-carb diets like the keto diet.
Why Dark Chocolate is Good for You?
Dark chocolate, or Cocoa, has a legacy that reaches back to 2000 BC in the Mayan Civilization of Central America. Even then, they knew cacao produced this nutrient pack sweet treat, and although they drank it, they noticed the difference it had on their health over time. It was called the “Food of the Gods”.
Dark chocolate mainly consists of cocoa which is a significant source of phytochemicals such as flavanols, caffeine, and theobromine. Flavanols, in particular, are a group of bioactive compounds found in certain plant-based foods, is known for a lot of health benefits. The quantity of flavanols in dark chocolate is very high as compared to a lot of other high antioxidant foods such as apples, red wine, and black tea. Dark chocolate is also rich in dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, and copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
This delicious combination is said to improve heart health, blood circulation, and brain functionality. These are also very beneficial in reducing the chances of heart diseases, certain cancers, and possibly other chronic diseases.
Dark chocolate can heal and protect your organs and tissues from within due to its high levels of antioxidants and crucial minerals. It also has a positive impact on heart health, inflammation of joints, the immune system, and overall body function.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 ounce of dark chocolate(70-85% cocoa) contains 170 calories which are pretty high and can cause weight gain due to excess consumption. It also contains a considerable amount of saturated fat which can have an adverse effect on cholesterol level.
Make sure not to consume too much dark chocolate in one day. You only reap these benefits when you eat a serving consistently over some time. When eaten in moderation it’s a must-have for optimal bio function and skin health.
Quick Dark Chocolate Facts
- Dark chocolate has been around for about at least 2000 years.
- The word “chocolate” originated from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which means “Bitter Water” and referred to a drink made from Cacao Beans.
- Dark chocolate is considered a superfood
- Dark chocolate is high in caffeine due to its higher concentration of cocoa. In comparison, 5 ounces of dark chocolate has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
- Dark chocolate is a great choice for low carb diets such as the keto diet
There are many ways to consume dark chocolate that suits a healthy lifestyle, choose the ones that work for you.
Incorporate dark chocolate into your diet subtlety by finely chopping up a serving and adding it to trail-mix, frozen yogurt, or oatmeal. If you crave anything sweet after eating, eat a few small bites and balance the bitterness with fine cheese. Use cacao powder to make healthy chocolate milk or nutrient-rich smoothies.
Once you begin eating the recommended amount, you’ll notice your skin begin to tighten and glow.
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.