With Valentine's Day looming, chances are chocolate is on your mind.
And whether you are gifted some from your sweetheart or treat yourself to a bite (or ten), it's fantastic to know that chocolate CAN be healthy for you.
Dark chocolate is what you want to consume for health benefits. Also known as bittersweet, or bitter chocolate, look for bars/chips with a 70% or higher total cocoa content. (Milk chocolate has a higher content of sugar and fat with the lowest content of cocoa, and white chocolate isn't actually chocolate at all, it's just candy!)
Other things to look for in quality are the following:
The word Cocoa comes first in the ingredient list. It's the cocoa that has all the health benefits.
No unnecessary ingredients. Trans fats, artificial flavorings, added foods like pretzels, toffee, caramel, etc., too much sugar, and even milk, make the chocolate less healthy and more like candy.
No alkali processing. Also known as Dutching, this over-processing destroys important nutrients in the cocoa.
Fair-trade and organic. Though higher in price, it is more likely to be high-quality, ethically sourced and pesticide-free.
With its powerful antioxidant properties and heart-healthy benefits and more, experts suggest one small square (about 8 grams) a day. (I'll probably exceed that because I LOVE bitter chocolate!)
Maybe we should have a chocolate challenge one of these months!!
Happy Valentine's Day and happy chocolate eating!