Dark chocolate is more than just a delicious treat; it’s packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and other nutrients that can do wonders for your health. Discover the many benefits of eating dark chocolate, including how to choose and enjoy it.
What are the key benefits?
It has been linked to a variety of health benefits, from improved heart health to better blood sugar regulation. It’s also high in antioxidants and flavonoids which help protect the body from disease and support overall health. Eating dark chocolate may also improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and even help with weight loss.
How do you choose and store quality dark chocolate?
Choosing quality means looking for varieties that have a high percentage of cacao (generally at least 60%). Look for labels that specify “dark chocolate” or « semisweet » instead of just « chocolate », meaning they don’t have additional ingredients that may increase sugar content. When it comes to storage, store it in a cool, dark place and avoid refrigerating it as this could cause condensation and make it turn white. As long as it’s stored properly, it can last for 12-18 months.
Do nutrition labels on dark chocolate need to be monitored?
Yes, nutrition labels should always be monitored when eating it. Check for the amount of added sugars, as well as other unhealthy ingredients such as preservatives or artificial sweeteners. For example, if you are trying to watch your fat and sugar intake, opt for dark chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa solids and limited added sugar. Look for words like “rich” or “intense” – these will most likely indicate higher levels of cocoa and less unnecessary refined sugar.
Are there unique benefits for different types of people?
Yes, those looking for unique health benefits can reap additional benefits from it. For instance, those dealing with diabetes can benefit from the flavonoids in dark chocolate that help regulate blood sugar levels. It is also believed to aid in weight loss efforts due to its antioxidant properties – which may lead to lower cholesterol and reduced risk for heart disease. Additionally, it has shown promising results in reducing stress levels due to its serotonin and endorphin content.
Fortification approaches of dark chocolate
It has been gaining in popularity for several decades due to its immense health benefits. It contains various vitamins, minerals, and bioactive components like polyphenols, flavonoids, and procyanidins that can help boost immunity and provide protection against cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Additionally, it is known to have anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects which make it a functional food. However, some of the nutrients in dark chocolate are often lost during processing. Thus, fortifying dark chocolate with ingredients such as fruits (mulberry, elderberry), spices (cinnamon), phytosterols, vitamin-rich oils (peanut oil) and probiotics provides an opportunity to enhance its nutrients content and make it more self-sufficient. Also these additions can help improve physical properties such as viscosity and rheological elements while also making the flavour more enjoyable by reducing its bitterness.