From babies to older people, it is hard to find anyone who doesn't like chocolate. From chocolate bars to chocolate cakes, chocolate milkshakes, chocolate brownies, chocolate pastries, everything is mouthwatering. Chocolates have different varieties. Among them, the ‘Dark Chocolate’ satisfies not only the taste buds but also the soul. The habit of eating Dark chocolate provides a bunch of benefits to the mind and body. Let’s find out the health benefits and nutritional value of dark chocolate.
What is dark chocolate? How is it different from regular chocolates?
The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa beans, which are rich in antioxidants and it is great for our body. Usually, the cocoa has a bitter taste, and Fat or sugar are usually added to remove the bitter taste of chocolate. But, in this process, the quality of chocolate is lost. So, to get the benefits of chocolate, you need to eat at least 70% or more of the cocoa in the chocolate.
Dark chocolate is one of the food ingredients full of antioxidants. It is basically a form of chocolate that contains cocoa butter and solid cocoa. Unlike regular chocolate, it doesn't have any milk or butter. Usually, dark chocolate contains 50-90% of cocoa solids, sugar, and cocoa butter. However, the amount of butter is extremely low.
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Common Types of dark chocolate
Usually, dark chocolates are distinguished by the availability of the percentage of cocoa solids in the bar. Normally most common types of dark chocolates are bittersweet, semi-sweet, and sweet.
Although the best quality dark chocolates should contain at least 70% of solid cocoa, the amount of cocoa in commercial dark chocolate may start from 30%. Usually, commercially produced dark chocolates contain 30-80% or higher for extremely dark or bitter bars.
The bitterness depends on the cocoa percentage. That is why the chocolate brands put the percentage of the dark on the level so that buyers can buy according to their needs.
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How is dark chocolate produced?
Solid cocoa and cocoa butter are the main ingredients of dark chocolates. However, dark chocolate containing 100% cocoa will have an extremely bitter taste and might not be edible. Hence, to make it edible, producers add milk ingredients and sugars to reduce the bitterness. Furthermore, chocolate liquor and cocoa powder are also added. But the percentage of cocoa remains higher than other types of regular chocolate.
Benefits of dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in active organic ingredients, which act as antioxidants. These ingredients are polyphenols, flavonols, etc. A study suggests that dark chocolate contains more antioxidant content than many fruits. While antioxidants prevent cell damage it also works on cancer prevention. Moreover, dark chocolates have other health benefits too.
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Improves Heart health
The antioxidant ingredients available in dark chocolate can increase good cholesterol levels and lower the levels of bad cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. So, taking dark chocolate daily can reduce the chances of any coronary heart disease. Studies have shown that dark chocolate is more beneficial than milk chocolate. The study also found that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of death from heart problems by 50% over 15 years.
Depression can hamper our body as well as the mind and various deadly diseases nest in the body. Eating dark chocolates regularly can fight depression. The antioxidant-rich ingredients in dark chocolate regulate blood flow to the brain. As a result, a type of hormone is released, which helps to keep the mind fresh. Also, other nutrients in dark chocolate help to increase mental strength by storing energy in the body.