Last week we uncovered the scary truth behind the chocolate industry. Today, we want to share with you the benefits of dark chocolate and better equip you to make smart choices when it comes to satisfying your chocolate cravings.
As many of you may know, chocolate can be very beneficial to your health. However, many of us don’t realize that these benefits are dependent upon the quality of chocolate we choose to consume.
Not all chocolate is created equal.
While it would certainly be convenient if eating Snickers led to mental clarity and glowing skin…it doesn’t. We cannot eat any type of chocolate and experience the health benefits of cacao. So let’s take a closer look at the process behind making chocolate and what differentiates quality from crap.
It all begins with the cacao pod.
“Seeds (or beans) are extracted from the pod and fermented, dried, and roasted into what we recognize as cocoa beans. The shells of the bean are then separated from the meat, or cocoa nibs. The nibs are ground into a liquid called chocolate liquor, and separated from the fatty portion, or cocoa butter. The liquor is further refined to produce the cocoa solids and chocolate that we eat. After removing the nibs, the cocoa bean is ground into cocoa powder that is used in baking or beverages.” - Harvard T.H. Chan
Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar; whereas milk chocolate contains anywhere from 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, and milk in some form. White chocolate actually contains no cocoa solids whatsoever, and is comprised of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. Lower quality chocolate may also add butter fat, vegetable oils, and artificial colors or flavors.
“A study published in International Journal of Cardiology had subjects either consume a daily dose of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate or non-flavonoid white chocolate for two weeks. The results showed that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake significantly improved heart circulation in healthy adults. On the other hand, white chocolate with zero flavonoids to brag about had no positive health effects on the subjects.” - Annie Price, CHHC
DARK CHOCOLATE FOR HEALTH:
Dark chocolate is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and flavanols. Studies show that flavanols may help protect the heart, and have also been shown to support the production of nitric acid in the endothelium. This helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure. And that's not all, chocolate has many other positive effects on our health. Let's take a closer look.
Chocolate is probably best known for the antioxidants it contains. These antioxidants are extremely beneficial for fighting disease-causing free radicals.
Two groups of antioxidants found in dark chocolate are flavonoids and polyphenols. In fact, dark chocolate’s cocoa is actually shown to have the highest content of polyphenols and flavonoids. So the higher the cacao/cocoa percentage in your chocolate, the more antioxidants you’re consuming.
Improves Heart Health
According to Cleveland Clinic, research shows that the flavanols found in dark chocolate are very beneficial for heart health by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart and brain.
Aids in Cognitive Function
Flavonoids are really stealing the show today. Apparently they are incredibly beneficial for just about everything. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutritionshowed that the flavonoids in dark chocolate are actually able to improve cognitive ability.
Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Research indicates that dark chocolate improves glucose balance, insulin sensitivity and inflammation markers - all symptoms that contribute to the development of diabetes.
Science confirms it ya’ll. Chocolate does make you happy. ;)
Research supports the idea that chocolate can in fact boost your mood. It appears to be the fatty acids that cause this improvement. Two saturated fatty acids - palmitic and stearic acids - are found in dark chocolate along with those amazing flavonoids that are known to be super beneficial for our health. While more research is still being conducted, studies have consistently found chocolate to have a positive impact on our health. The theory is that chocolate stimulates the neural activity in regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward.
As we mentioned last week, it's important to be educated on the chocolate you are consuming. For ethical reasons as well as for your personal health, you should be aware of how your chocolate is made and where it is sourced. This week, we want to feature one of our very favorite chocolates.
Here at The Farmacy we strive to offer our community the highest quality and ensure that the products we stand behind are reputable and trustworthy.
The Cocoa Brothers is one company that we can definitely give our seal of approval. When it comes to chocolate, they are the best. Their commitment to quality and authenticity in their chocolate production is what makes them so unique and special. Their vision has been to reinvent your average chocolate experience and give you a taste of the chocolate of the past. Modica chocolate is made in the same fashion since its first appearance in Modica, Italy, hundreds of years ago - yet in a more sustainable and healthy way.
Modica chocolate is made with cacao sourced from the area of Guayaquil in Ecuador. The name is Cacao Nacional Fino, it’s the finest cacao in Ecuador. It’s also a rare varietal, a hybrid of Criollo and Trinitario that makes only about 2% of the total production of cacao in the world. It has floral and fruity notes, rich in flavor, intense mouthfeel and medium-long finish. It’s certified organic and fair trade.
Modica chocolate strives to deliver a chocolate that is made without the use of modern techniques. Their chocolate is handmade in small batches, tempered on a marble slab repeatedly using premium quality natural ingredients. Modica chocolate keeps it clean and simple with just two ingredients: organic cocoa and sugar.
And for those of you that love the little details, it’s pretty fascinating to know that their recipe is over 400 years old and traces back to the Aztecs. And that’s not all, even in their design and packaging they opt for paper-made and handcrafted. They print on mostly recycled paper and use a custom made die to cut the box’s silhouette into the paper and wrap every chocolate by hand.
You can rest assured knowing that when you eat Modica chocolate you are choosing a product that is local, 100% handmade, and crafted with love. Now that’s the kind of chocolate you can feel good about eating.