Giving someone dark chocolate is a way to show them what's in your heart and may help keep their heart healthy at the same time. Studies have shown that eating small amounts of dark chocolate a few times a week may improve blood flow and prevent blood clots. Dark chocolate eaters may also experience lower blood pressure and a lower chance of experiencing hardening of the arteries. It's good for the brain and it helps to control blood sugar levels. The flavonoids in dark chocolate reduce insulin resistance. Eating dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants, can also protect against some types of cancer.
Chocolate should contain 70% cocoa with limited sugar for maximum health benefits. One objection to eating dark chocolate may be that it tends to have a bitter taste. Usually, the higher the cocoa content, the stronger the bitter flavor. But there are some chocolate makers that have managed to tame the bitterness of dark chocolate.
Fannie May chocolate company in Chicago makes dark chocolate truffles with unique flavor profiles from exotic regions such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Madagascar. The Fannie May Artisan Origin Truffles have a balance of cocoa flavor and sweetness. The shells of the truffles are filled with decadent soft centers of creamy goodness. Each truffle in the Artisan Origin Truffle collection has a distinctive flavor.
Julie Pech owns a shop called The Chocolate Therapist. Pech and her staff make all-natural chocolate onsite. Their recipes support the pure-eating concepts shared in Pech's book, The Chocolate Therapist: A User's Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate. The Chocolate Therapist's offerings include a variety of dark chocolate and milk chocolate blends. The chocolate is tailored to those trying to switch from milk to dark chocolate. Each bar has a whimsical name. Who could resist Blue Suede Shews, a 72% dark chocolate bar with blueberries and cashews? Other delicious bars include Berried in Chocolate, Down by the Sea Salt, and The Purist.
Lake Champlain Chocolates, Vital Choice , and Askinosie Chocolate offer a variety of dark chocolate bars. The cocoa content of their dark chocolate bars ranges between 70% and 80%. Dark chocolate does not always have to be eaten in bar form. Askinosie Chocolate sells roasted cocoa nibs. Reserveage sells products like CocoaWell supplements that are supposed to provide the same benefits of eating dark chocolate. They also sell powdered cocoa mixes for drinking that consist of 70% cocoa.
All chocolate is not created equal and all taste buds are not the same. A fun way to determine which kind of chocolate has the most appeal to an individual is to have a chocolate tasting. Roxanne Browning is a Chocolate Sommelier at Exotic Chocolate Tastings in New York. Browning recommends sampling no more than six varieties of chocolate at one time. Squares in bite sized pieces should be arranged on a plate or served in order of cacao content for a tasting.
The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Please be advised that all product recommendations are solely personal opinions. In cooperation with the FTC's guideline regarding disclosures to consumers regarding the receipt of sample products from a company in connection with a review of such company's products and for services, please be advised that products reviewed in this article were provided at no cost for review purposes.