There is so much bad in chocolate. The chocolate health benefits that come from the great cacao plant get covered up by processing and sugar. But that’s mostly just from commercial chocolate like your typical Hershey’s bar.
There are all kinds of dark chocolate bars, baking chocolate and straight cocoa that provide great antioxidants and health benefits The key is steering clear of unnecessary sugar and processing, and sticking with dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa.
One of the chocolate health benefits comes from the resveratrol antioxidant in the chocolate. If you’re truly interested in the health benefits of your “snacks”, then look for dark chocolate bar that has nuts, hot pepper or organic chocolate in it.
To start with, cocoa is a fruit. When was the last time you were told not to eat a fruit? Just like oranges and grapes, chocolate is full of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.
Chocolate’s antioxidants fight free radical damage. It’s phenols help prevent hardening of the arteries, and the methylxanthines help create soft, sensitive skin. That’s truly just the beginning.
The problem with chocolate health in general is the processing. Unless you’re careful, as with everything, you’ll just end up with sugar. Even some of the dark chocolate bars, like Hershey’s Special Dark, are mostly processed sugar.
The key to getting the benefits of dark chocolate is choosing the right one. Or buying straight cocoa and making your own chocolate. Of course buying air sealed organic dark cocoa will give you the best of both worlds. (Check out this Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
Chocolate as we know it is the end product of a long process. It starts out as a bean in the cacao plant. The cacao beans are processed into cocoa mass and cocoa liquor. That cocoa liquor can be hardened into a bittersweet bar we know as bittersweet chocolate. The liquor can also be squeezed down to a cocoa solid – which then they turn into powdered cocoa.
Then they add some cocoa butter and you instantly have a great chocolate product. Click the headline above to read more and watch a video on how chocolate is made.
Another important part of maintaining the chocolate health benefits is learning how to store the chocolate. Since antioxidants can become oxidized and lose their ability to fight free radicals, storing them away from oxygen preserves the health benefits.