So many of us LOVE chocolate, don't we? We love the bitter and sweet taste aspects, along with the creamy texture and the oh-so seductive aroma. All these qualities contribute to our love of chocolate. However, not all chocolate is created equally. White chocolate and milk chocolate do not possess the health benefits of deep, dark chocolate.
Deep, dark chocolate has several advantages over its paler counterparts. First, dark chocolate is lower in sugar and it comes with a higher percentage of cocoa and cocoa fat which is a healthy fat. That healthy fat is called monounsaturated oleic acid. It's the same kind of fat as you will find in olive oil. We have been hearing for years about the exceptional heart-healthy benefits of olive oil.
Another reason to choose dark chocolate is directly related to those who are lactose or casein intolerant. Dark chocolate is a better choice when it doesn't contain milk. Be sure to read the label carefully when looking for milk-free chocolate.
Dark chocolate is high in a special class of antioxidants called which are called flavonoids. These help keep free radicals, destructive substances formed as by-products from normal daily activities such as breathing, under control. Dark chocolate is high in a particular antioxidant called flavanol which has been shown to increase vascular health by lowering blood pressure. Flavanol also improves blood flow to the brain and heart. Another plus is that this powerhouse antioxidant can also make blood platelets less sticky. These all add up to making deep, dark chocolate a heart-healthy choice. You might even say, "The darker - the better," when it comes to chocolate.
There are a few folks who don't like the taste of chocolate or have an allergy to it. They can also receive the benefits of flavanol by eating cranberries, apples and onions. It is also found in several red wines and in tea. The best red wines with the highest antioxidant benefits are pinots, merlots, and syrahs. For those who do enjoy dark chocolate, these same red wine choices will pair very well with your chocolate. It's an indulgence that reaps health benefits!
Red wine and dark chocolate share another health benefit: the flavonoid resveretrol. This tongue twister is pronounced RES-VEER-ETRAWL. Along with having heart-healthy benefits, it is considered anti-aging. Plus, it has been found to lower blood sugar.
Perhaps you have not acquired a taste for the bitterness of dark, dark chocolate. There's still hope. A great way to start is by slowly increasing the percentage of cocoa found in the chocolate you purchase. Many milk chocolate choices have a 35 percent cocoa content. Anything over 70 percent is considered healthy. By slowly adding a few percentage points to your chocolate choices, you will slowly notice an increase in the taste tolerance you have for the more bitter varieties. Over time you will come to enjoy the darker chocolates and benefit from their health-enhancing qualities.