When you hear the phrase “healthy snacks” what is the first image that comes into your mind? Most people will start to envision seaweed chips and baby carrots. The last thing anyone would think of is chocolate. It is a crazy time to be alive because you can in fact purchase and enjoy healthy chocolate.
Chocolate was known by the Mayans as the “food of the gods.” The chocolate the enjoyed and what you think of when eating chocolate are likely two different things. When most people think about chocolate they envision a milk chocolate bar. Milk chocolate only contains a small amount of actual chocolate. It is mostly added sugar and milk. When you dilute chocolate with sugar and milk you lose all of the chocolate’s health benefits.
Benefits of Healthy Chocolate
Healthy chocolate is more commonly referred to as dark chocolate. Chocolate is made from the cacao plant and the higher the percentage of cacao in chocolate the darker and healthier it is considered. Dark chocolate contains large amounts of antioxidants; even more than blueberries and most other fruits. Every 100-gram serving contains 11 grams of dietary fiber and more than 58 percent of your recommended daily intake of iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. It also contains smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
The wide variety of nutrition found in dark chocolate have many health benefits. Some studies show it can possibly improve brain function when eaten regularly. It has been used to help and improve cardiovascular health from the antioxidants helping to lower a patient’s blood pressure. There is even dermatologist that believe it helps your skin develop natural protection against the sun.
Finding the Best Healthy Chocolate
Now that you know all the benefits of eating healthy chocolate, the next thing you need to learn is how to select the best dark chocolate. We talked earlier about how chocolate is derived from the cacao tree. You know that the higher the percentage of the cacao the healthier and darker the chocolate is. In an ideal world, you would only want dark chocolate that is 80 percent cacao but you can go as low as 70 percent and still reap many benefits from the nutrient-dense snack.
Once you make sure to find a chocolate bar that is 70 percent cacao or greater you want to make sure that it is organically grown. You do not want to digest pesticide residue. If the chocolate contains added sugar make sure to look at the ingredients to check the source of it. You only want to purchase chocolate that is sweetened with syrups preferable maple.
Dark chocolate can be very bitter to someone who has always eaten milk chocolate. To get your body use to the difference in taste you may want to look for healthy snacks that feature dark chocolate to get you started on your journey to enjoying the health benefits of dark chocolate. Healthy chocolate snacks can help you to develop a taste for dark chocolate. When looking for the best snack you want to continue to look for the same standards of the percentage of cacao, organic, and added sweetener that you would if looking for pure dark chocolate.
It’s time for you to take this knowledge and some time to do research and find the best healthy chocolate option for you. Make sure it meets all the standards of the percentage of cacao and added sweeteners. If you follow the guidelines we discussed you will develop a love of dark chocolate and be reaping all the health benefits in no time at all.