Tag Archive | "dark chocolate"

Chocolate Processing – The Breakdown from Dark to White

What comes to mind when people think chocolate is usually the creamy, sweet, melts-in-your-mouth milk chocolate that you see coating most candy bars and other delicious chocolate treats.  Well, there’s cocoa in that too, but chocolate can come in many other forms as well.

Chocolate in its purest, least processed form is raw and that has the most nutritional value.  Powdered cocoa, cocoa nibs, and chocolate liquor are all forms of pure chocolate.  It’s chalked full of antioxidants and the purer you eat this stuff, the more nutrients you’ll get from it.

Unsweetened chocolate is a combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.  Still fairly pure, this is the least processed form of chocolate aside from raw cocoa.

The next level of chocolate processing is bittersweet chocolate.  Chocolate liquor with some sugar, a little more cocoa butter, and some vanilla are the basics to the bittersweet variety of chocolate.  Semisweet is a little sweeter, but both of these types would be used for mostly baking purpose as they’re very bitter and rarely eaten as is.

The dark chocolate you’d be more inclined to eat is still loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, but this type of chocolate will be a combination of chocolate liquor or cocoa solids and added fats and sugars.  The higher percentage of cocoa used, the more pure and bitter the chocolate will be.

Milk chocolate has the same components as dark chocolate but with varying levels of added milk products.  Powdered or condensed milk is often the milk ingredient used for milk chocolate manufacturing.  The milk greatly reduces the intensity of the chocolate flavour making it the much more popular choice in public consumption.

In some opinions of chocolate lovers around the world, white chocolate is not actually so much a form of chocolate as it is a confection.  It contains cocoa butter which is where its chocolaty name comes from, but no cocoa solids.  This type of chocolate offers the least nutrients and would be the least healthy of any form of chocolate.

Chocolate comes in all combinations of cocoa, milk, sugar, and fats.  Whether you love the bitter bite of the purest dark chocolate or the milky sweetness of white chocolate, there’s a perfect combination of ingredients out there for everyone.

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Health Benefits You Can Enjoy From Chocolate

It may be possible to take some of the guilt out of enjoying one of your favourite foods because guess what, chocolate does have some healthy perks! Careful now, that doesn’t mean you should add a chocolate bar a day to your diet, but eating the right types of chocolate in moderation can be a guilt-free pleasure that helps prevent disease.

Eating the Right Kinds of Chocolate

A lot of the typical chocolate bars sitting next to the gum and newspapers in your local convenience store aren’t the going to meet the healthy chocolate standards. Milk and white chocolate has quite a bit of sugar, fat, and extra additives that give chocolate its “bad for you” reputation. Eating the pure dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa is the right way to benefit from indulging your chocolate craving. Organic dark chocolate is also an option if you want an even healthier approach to chocolate.

Where These Benefits Come From

Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that come from the flavinoids found in pure cocoa. These antioxidants help to prevent cancer, heart disease, and a number of other illnesses. You’ll also be absorbing vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin B from eating dark chocolate. While dairy can inhibit the effects of antioxidants, dark chocolate is made with little or no dairy and can be enjoyed by those with dairy allergies or sensitivities.

Good for Your Heart and Body

The nutrients found in dark chocolate can promote a healthy heart and lessen your risk for disease. Because these nutrients can keep blood vessels flexible and reduce blood pressure the risk of stoke and heart attack is lower. Eating dark chocolate can also go so far as to help reduce cholesterol and keep joints lubricated.

Good for Your Mind

As most people would agree, eating chocolate has an undeniable therapeutic aspect. The endorphins chocolate releases in the body cause a pleasurable feeling that can act as an anti-depressant. The heightened mood that comes with a chunk or two of chocolate can go a long way to combating the effects of stress.

Lower in sugar and carbohydrates that lighter chocolate, dark chocolate can make an excellent sweet treat for diabetics or anyone else on a low-carb diet. However, for all chocolate lovers alike, moderation is the key to getting the most out of the benefits chocolate has to offer.

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