Debra Lynn Dadd
Let's face it. We're all going to eat chocolate. But you don't have to feel
guilty! Chocolate is actually good for you...it's all the things added to it
that are the problem. Here's how you can choose delicious healthy chocolates to
The gift of chocolate to a beloved as a token of love is more than just
tradition. Naturally-occurring compounds in chocolate produce that mild euphoria
of being in love and contribute to enjoyable interpersonal relations by
elevating mood and enhancing sensory perception.
Beyond good feelings, chocolate benefits the body in many ways. In moderation,
chocolate can contribute to heart health, help you live longer, suppress a
chronic cough, and add needed magnesium to your diet. Chocolate even contains a
high level of chromium, which can help control blood sugar.
While chocolate itself is
fine to eat, there are some substances present in chocolate products that you
watch out for.
Most chocolate products
contain tremendous amounts of refined white sugar, which is harmful to health in
Chocolate may also contain pesticides. The EPA allows various levels of
pesticide residue to be present in
powder, and the FDA Total Diet Study found them in many chocolate products.
Many chocolates also contain the toxic metals cadminum and lead. "Significant
levels" of these metals were
found in 68% of the common chocolate products
tested. There is no safe level for lead, and it is particularly
Here are some guidelines for choosing the healthiest chocolates.
chocolates with the least amount of refined white sugar or other sweetener. Dark
"bittersweet" chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa solids (usually the
label will state the exact percentage) have less sugar than semisweet or milk
chocolate and also have the greatest health benefits. Keep in mind that flavor
additions, such as dried fruits and candied ginger may also add sugar to the
chocolates sweetened with evaporated cane juice or barley malt. If the
evaporated cane juice used is the unprocessed whole juice of the cane, it acts
in the body like a whole food and doesn't give a sugar rush. Barley malt is also
a slow-release sweetener, noted on the label as "grain-sweetened."
organic chocolates. Certified organic chocolate ensures there are no harmful
own chocolates. It's easy to make many chocolate delights yourself, with the
exact ingredients you want. Start with unsweetened cocoa powder or baking
chocolate and be creative!
quality over quantity. If you are going to eat chocolate, eat really good
chocolate. Then, for maximum enjoyment, give the taste of the chocolate your
full attention, eat it at a time when you are not famished or overly full, and
allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth to make the experience last.