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Your Healthy Chocolate Eating Guide

Posted Mar 29 2010 4:10pm

If you love chocolate (and what woman doesn’t?) then you should be happy to know you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in this wonderfully delectable treat.

As it turns out, chocolate is actually good for you as long as you eat the right kind.

Chocolate contains health giving flavonoids (class of plant pigments) and antioxidants (removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in your body). Studies have shown these substances can benefit your health in various ways like lowering high blood pressure and supporting your cardiovascular system. Chocolate is also high in magnesium which is an important nutrient lacking in many diets today.

However, all chocolate is not created equally, and some of it has been so highly processed that most of the health benefits have been removed. That’s why it’s important to learn what types of chocolate are good for you and what types you should avoid.

Gotta Love Dark Chocolate

The healthy part of chocolate is contained in the bitter taste. Chocolate comes from cocoa that has a naturally strong flavor. When cocoa is processed on its way to becoming the sweet treat we all love, this pungent taste is removed and the chocolate becomes less healthy. In addition, sugars are added which even further cancels chocolate’s health giving properties.  To determine the healthiest type of chocolate, look to the degree of processing it has gone through.

Typically, dark chocolate has been processed less than milk chocolate and white chocolate so it retains more flavonoids. Some dark chocolate is better for you than others. Look for those with a high cocoa content of at least 70 percent or more.  Good choices are gourmet chocolates from well known brands like Ghirardelli, Lindt, and Scharffen Berger. When choosing cocoa for cooking, select a brand that has not been subjected to alkali known as Dutch cocoa as it contains fewer flavonoids.  Dark chocolate is an acquired taste for most people since we grew up on sweet milk chocolate.

Acquire The Good Chocolate Taste

Do your own kids a favor and let them enjoy an Easter basket filled with chocolates, just make sure the Easter candy is made from healthy dark chocolate.  Healthy chocolate can have its beneficial properties canceled out if you choose bars with added caramel, sugar, or marshmallow. So choose your chocolate bar wisely and enjoy an indulgence that is good for you too.

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