We’ve been taking some time out lately on the blog to pay homage to the beneficial, disease blasting aspects of one of the candies we love best: chocolate. Thanks to the plethora of current research being conducted on the advantages of roasted and ground cocoa, chocoholics everywhere can now find easy excuses to reach for their favorite sweet treat.
Here are a few of the important ingredients and processing information you should look for in your chocolate to reap all the benefits of this cure-all candy.
The flavanols in cocoa contain antioxidants that have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease because of their ability to lower blood pressure while enhancing vascular function and decreasing damage done to cells that can cause heart disease. Look for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa to take full advantage of the heart healthy food.
We can’t deny that the fat in cocoa butter means that chocolate can be a little calorically dense, but the saturated fats in cocoa butter have demonstrated to be less problematic when it comes to raising cholesterol than most. Stearic acid, in fact, has been shown to have no impact in terms of increasing cholesterol. And although palmitic acid can affect cholesterol, there is not as much of it in chocolate as the other more beneficial or neutral fats.
Dark chocolate is like the purist of the chocolate world, containing fewer added ingredients than the other varieties, milk and white. This means that it comprises more concentrated levels of the valuable antioxidants and other naturally occurring components of cocoa. For added nutrition, select candy that contains nuts and aim to eat chocolate with a cocoa content of 65% or higher.
Any chocolate that is Dutch processed generally extracts some of the health benefits of the food, because it requires the chocolate to be treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. This process detracts some of the beneficial antioxidants, decreasing the advantages of consuming chocolate. Check the labels of your chocolate or with your local confectioner to make sure you’re buying chocolate that has undergone the least amount of processing.
In the business of making chocolates for nearly 100 years, Wockenfuss Homemade Candies knows first-hand that a daily dose of chocolate will keep your heart pumping strong. We have a large selection of dark chocolate delectables and plenty of candies that are loaded with nutritious nuts to help keep you happy and healthy – come on down to one of our locations to try them for yourself!
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