Sure, we all know the most popular benefits of dark chocolate: sinfully delectable, tantalizingly delicious, and it tastes pretty good.
While those are all great reasons, there are also a few more that would appease even your most health-conscious comrades.
Now, of course, with numerous advertisements endorsing chocolates… it’s not rocket science to figure that chocolate is existent in different forms: White chocolate, Milk chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and of course, our topic of discussion: Dark Chocolate.
All these types of chocolate (except dark chocolate) are made using milk, fat and sugar as additives. Most of the chocolates that you find in the supermarkets today are derivatives of the process of solidifying milk chocolate using condensed milk, courtesy of Henri Nestle.
And as much as you love indulging in one of those little bars of fantasy, sooner or later you’ll begin to see the effects of having one too many of these little delights which of course contain far too much milk and sugar to earn the “healthy” tag.
Chocolate comes from the cacao tree. And if you didn’t know that, perhaps its anglicized derivative, cocoa, would sound more familiar.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate – 5 Facts to Excuse Your Craving!
- Scientists have actually discovered that cocoa contains flavonoids. Now if we consume flavonoids, our body will be able to process nitric oxide, which is largely responsible for maintaining healthy blood pressure, resulting in optimum cardiovascular health.
- In addition, chocolate is known to relieve you from pain and even boost your energy levels.
- Dark chocolate has been shown in several studies to lower LDL, or “bad cholesterol.”
- This super food also contains serotonin, which is one of nature’s anti-depressants and mood-boosters.
- Similar to kissing, the dark stuff can even trigger endorphin production, leading to an overall sense of pleasure and relaxation.
The only reason why dark chocolate is considered healthier is because of the greater level of flavonoids present, which is otherwise removed when making milk or white chocolate.
Also, the darker the chocolate, the higher the protein and fiber counts, and the lower the sugar.
Now, another interesting fact about dark chocolates is that they are classified based on a percentage of actual cacao content. In other words, while milk chocolate contains up to 10-20 % cocoa solids, dark chocolate contains levels of 35% to 85% cocoa solids.
To break it down, let’s look at these classifications (with the percentage of cocoa solids available):
Sweet Dark Chocolate: 35% – 45%
Semi-sweet chocolate: 40% to 62%
Bitter-sweet chocolate: 60% to 85%
Of the three mentioned above, the last two are normally used in baking cakes, brownies and cookies, not forgetting the 100% cocoa solid, which is also known as unsweetened chocolate and used ONLY for baking purposes. Just a head-up for the adventurous types: 100% dark chocolate is indeed very healthy, but very few can stomach this acquired taste, and it certainly will taste nothing like you would expect from “chocolate.”