Enjoying Extra Dark Chocolate Can Reap Health Benefits
Recent research has shown that dark chocolate can have beneficial health effects. In a Britisg study, participants who ate 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day had a significant drop in blood pressure when compared to a group that did not eat chocolate. Chocolate has also been shown to useful in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and diabetes. Chocolate as a health food may sound contrary to everything you were taught about nutrition, but if you strip out the high amount of fat and sugar added to chocolate candy, you can enjoy the benefits of chocolate without damaging your waistline.
The recent glut of news about the benefits of dark chocolate has raised consumer awareness of high cocoa percentage bars. Milk chocolate contains as little as 20% cocoa. Regular dark chocolate contains as little as 35% cocoa, but the new super darks contain 70% to 99% cocoa. Higher cocoa content increases the health benefits and reduces the amount of chocolate you must eat to experience benefits. Super dark chocolate is an acquired taste, and different chocolate companies are known for different flavor undertones making it easy for chocolate lovers to find a bar to suit their taste.
To ease your way into eating high percentage chocolate, begin with a 65% to 70% bar like Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar. Widely available at mass retailers like target, the Lindt 70% bar is intense chocolate, but red fruit notes and slightly sweeter than other 70% bars. At $2.50 per bar, this is an excellent bargain and a good introduction to higher end chocolate. For a single origin bar, Pralus 75% Madagascar is an interesting choice. Slightly more tart than most Madagascar chocolates, it makes an interesting comparison for new chocolate connoisseurs. At $7.99 per bar, this is a pricers indulgence, and it can be difficult to locate in stores, but it is widely available for order online.
After you taste buds have been acclimated to a stronger chocolate, you may want to try higher percentage chocolates. Lindt's 85% Excellence bar is one of the highest regarded extra bitter chocolates, despite its wide availability and low price point. Like it's 70% cousin, it has strong red notes, but also a strong coffee finish. It is noticeably less sweet than lower percentage bars. It makes a nice counterpoint to a strong cup of coffee or red wine.
It is important to note that eating high content chocolate is different than munching your way through a Hershey bar. When eating high end chocolate, eat small amounts and allow the chocolate to melt and coat the tongue. This eating method allows the different notes of the roast to be enjoyed.
While high cocoa content fine chocolate is more expensive than milk chocolate candy, a smaller portion is necessary so you can enjoy health benefits without hurting your budget or your diet.