Chocolate is one of the most consumed food products whether just as candy or in other sweet treats. Chocolate provides many benefits for the body including; it improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, it is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals, it may reduce the risk of heart disease, while the best chocolate might improve brain function and it is very nutritious.
There many types of chocolate available in the market that differ with the preparation method adopted, ingredients and how much cocoa is used. If you are confused by the many brands and do not know how to choose the best chocolate, here are 4 tips to get you through.
- Cocoa Percentage
You should be on the lookout for the cocoa percentage used. Bars that have over 70% of cocoa are categorized as dark chocolate and dark chocolate is considered to be the most beneficial of all types. The higher the cocoa concentration, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains and the more nutritious it is.
Chocolate that is high in cocoa percentage also tends to have less sugar. Sugar can be an issue especially when you are trying to eat healthy. White chocolate contains only 20% cocoa percentage and many do not consider it to be a true chocolate.
- Consider the Ingredients
Different chocolate types have different ingredients in them. There are those that contain sugar, lecithin, milk and flavors. Sugar is often added to counter the bitter taste of cocoa. Go for a brand that does not use too much sugar in their chocolate. Sugar should be kept on the minimum. Lecithin is another ingredient used in small quantities in chocolate.
It is used as an emulsifier to prevent cocoa and cocoa butter from separating which can affect the flavors of the chocolate. Milk is another ingredient that is usually added to chocolate. Milk fat is added to chocolate to make it creamy, soft and enhance the flavors. You should avoid chocolates that contain Trans fats. Trans fats are dangerous and may cause heart diseases.
- Avoid Alkalized Chocolate
Alkalized chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkali. It is also called dutched chocolate. Alkalization of chocolate is done to reduce the bitter taste of chocolate and also to change the color. However chocolate that has been alkalized has significantly reduced amounts of antioxidants and therefore it is not so beneficial to the body. It is therefore important to avoid this type of chocolate.
- Go for Organic Chocolate
Just like organic foods, there is also organic chocolate. This is produced from cocoa beans that have been organically produced. This means that you avoid exposure to artificial chemicals and pesticides that may have been sprayed on the cocoa plant.
It is also important that you consider buying cocoa from reputable brands in the market. There are known brands you can choose from who provide the very best dark chocolate that is highly nutritious and with a high content of antioxidants to help your body. While choosing chocolate it is important to pay close attention to the ingredients.
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