Walk into any convenience store and you’ll be presented with a wide array of chocolates. If all you want is to satisfy your cravings, then any will do just fine. But if you want to reap the health benefits of chocolate, you’ll need to be more selective. Choosing the right one can seem like a gamble though if you don’t know what to look for. So to help you out, we put together some simple health tips for buying chocolate.
The health benefits of dark chocolate are well documented. One study found that eating dark chocolate more than five times a week reduced the risk of heart disease. Many of the health benefits are attributed to the flavonoids that are contained in the cocoa which are powerful antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits and vegetables. When you buy dark chocolate, look for labels that show a cacao percentage of at least 70 per cent.
High quality chocolate has cocoa butter as one of its main ingredients which is an edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. Some manufacturers will replace some of the cocoa butter with cheaper vegetable oil to reduce the manufacturing cost. Avoid any chocolates that have additional fats and be wary of labels that contain the terms “chocolatey” or “made with chocolate”.
As you check the cacao content and whether it contains cocoa butter, you’ll also want to check read through the ingredients list. Good chocolate will only use a handful of ingredients. If you see many ingredients you don’t recognise, then it likely uses cheaper alternatives or unhealthier substitutes. Avoid these chocolates and consider purchasing a different kind.
“Dutched” chocolate has been processed with alkali so it’s not acidic like natural cocoa. The treatment gives a milder taste but it also reduces its overall quality and removes many of the compounds that are beneficial for your health. If you are looking for high quality chocolate then it’s better to avoid Dutch processed chocolate.
Chocolate actually has a much longer shelf life compared to other types of foods. Dark chocolate contains fewer milk products so it can last longer than milk or white chocolate (typically about two years). But you should still aim to buy chocolate that was made recently because aged chocolate will eventually lose its quality and taste.
Dark chocolate is already delicious on its own and something that you can easily snack on during a quick break. But if you want to reap even more health benefits, then look for chocolate that contains fruit or nuts, or even a mix of both. A popular item we offer in our store is our Fruit & Nut In Dark which includes almonds, pistachios, apricots, and blueberries.
It may seem like all chocolate is the same but that is not the case at all. If you know what to look for, you can find the perfect chocolate that hits all the spots and enables you to reap the health benefits it brings.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.