Ever given in to the temptation of a rich, delicious chocolate and later gone down a guilt trip? We all do. To satiate sweet cravings, to meet hunger pangs or simply for the love of chocolates, most of us have devoured a bar of this heavenly treat loaded with calories and not cared a damn about diet. Chocolates are so irrestibile that they have been the reason for many a diets to go awry.
But if you are a chocolate fan, denying yourself will only lead to binge eating. The good news is that chocolate can actually be allowed in your diet. And the icing on the cake is that, the dark chocolate variety is beneficial for your health too. So, before you rush to buy chocolates online, check out the varieties of chocolate available.
What is Dark Chocolate?
Chocolates can be classified into milk chocolates, dark chocolates and bitter chocolate depending on the composition.
Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans (cacao) after they are subjected to a refining process. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted and ground. The resultant products are chocolate liquor and cocoa butter, which is the fat component. It is the amount of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar that decide the type of chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains chocolate liquor (or cocoa powder), cocoa butter, sugar and an emulsifier called lecithin. It does not contain milk solids. Also, the amount of sugar it contains is lesser than in milk chocolates. The percentage of cocoa powder varies from 30% to 70% in the extremely dark variety. The absence of milk solids gives dark chocolate a bitter after taste. You can buy the dark variety from any online chocolate store.
What is it with Dark Chocolates that make them a better choice as against Milk Chocolates?
The cocoa bean is loaded with nutrients. It contains high amounts of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are beneficial for health. Research shows that it helps in preventing cardiac diseases, boosts brain power, protects against cancer and acts as stress buster.
This wonder bean also contains vital minerals like copper, potassium, iron and magnesium. Iron helps to control anemia while copper and potassium prevent stroke and heart diseases. Magnesium plays an important role in Type 2 diabetes.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of antioxidants it contains. But the refining process and the addition of sugar (or any other sweetening agent) reduces the nutritional value of the chocolate. Sugar cannot be completely avoided, because cocoa in itself is very bitter and has a chalky texture.
To get maximum health benefits, it is best to eat chocolate, which has undergone minimal processing and has least amount of additives.
Since dark chocolate has higher amount of cocoa and lesser sugar it makes it a better choice. This doesn’t mean that you can devour a bar of chocolate everyday. Remember, it still contains some sugar. So, eat it moderation, as a treat, only to satisfy your chocolate cravings. A better idea is that you make room for the calories of chocolate by planning your calorie intake and diet ahead.
Now you can send those chocolate hampers to your loved ones without guilt. It will pep up their mood and health too!