(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Chocolate is a controversial topic. Buying and eating chocolate is mostly connected to an act that should make oneself feel guilty, because of the many bad health consequences that is said to create and its high percentage of fat and sugar content. It may also even spark some conditions like acne or diabetes.
But truly, it’s not all bad news. Before consuming a chocolate bar, one should check the ingredients and see the amount of sugar it contains, it’s better if there are no extra ingredients that are impossible to pronounce. This is why dark chocolate is better than any other. A great example is Santa Barbara Chocolate because is a Dark Kosher Chocolate with 70% cocoa and no soy lecithin and has an USDA Organic certification.
Some good characteristics that should be investigated before acquiring a chocolate bar, are a high percentage of cocoa, having quality certifications like being Kosher, Couverture and having no additives like being GMO free. But even if it has no added certifications, dark chocolate has a lot of benefits above milk chocolate.
Cocoa, is the main ingredient in chocolate, and it has been proven by the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, that it contains biologically active phenolic compounds. This means it helps regulate conditions like stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and even might decrease the speed of aging in a person. It also contains caffeine and theobromine which can help with the brain functionality.
Both milk and dark chocolate contain cocoa but the second one has a higher concentration of it because it doesn’t use milk and most of the time also no sugar. This means that the amount of antioxidants in the bar are higher.
The percentage that is announced in the bar represents the amount of cocoa that it contains. A 70-85% 100-gram bar of dark chocolate contains minerals like fiber, iron, magnesium, just to name a few.
Another characteristic to know when eating or buying chocolate is if it contains soy lecithin. In its simpler form is an industrial waste product, that is the sludge that is left after crude soy oil and its processed with acetone. It’s added because it keeps chocolate moving through the production pipes. Furthermore, it alters the taste and the texture of chocolate, making it more standard.
Finally, an additional characteristic of a good chocolate is if its couverture. This is the name assigned only to high quality chocolate. This type of chocolate bar has probably the same ingredients as a regular one, but the difference is in the preparation. During its production it’s grounded to be of a finer texture and the cocoa butter percentage is greater in relation of the other ingredients.
This makes the chocolate texture more fluid when melted, that is why this type of chocolate is preferred when baking, especially for tempering.
So, don’t forget to check this little list when you are thinking about not buying a chocolate bar. Not all of them are unhealthy, of course, so better focus on chocolates that have good quality ingredients, no added industrial ingredients and even better is that if they have a kind of certification that backs it up.
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