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How to Choose the Best Chocolate

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Not sure how to choose the chocolate with the most antioxidants? Read on.  Foods high in antioxidants are often called “super-foods” because they have additional health properties beyond their nutritional value. Chocolate, especially dark varieties with cocoa content of at least 72% has been shown to have heart-protecting properties. However, chocolate used in food processing is often treated with alkali to mollify the astringency of natural cocoa. Studies show that such treatment, called alkalization, often reduces amount of flavonols, powerful antioxidants beneficial for your heart, by as much as 80%!

How do you know if your chocolate has been treated with alkali?

  • Check the label – if one of the ingredients is cocoa treated with alkali, it may not be the best choice.
  • Alkali-treated chocolate, also known as Dutch or “dutched” cocoa, is often used in prepackaged foods such as baking and hot cocoa mixes. To reap full benefits of chocolate goodness, add a little dark chocolate when baking or cooking from scratch.
  • Dark chocolate bars are least likely to be alkalized so go for the best quality chocolate you can afford. Look for bars with at least a 70% cocoa content. Remember it’s not about quantity but a superior decadent flavor when it comes to chocolate!
  • Give raw cocoa nibs or raw cocoa bars a try.
  • Most importantly, choose dark chocolate as a sweet treat – not a health food.

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Comment on How to Choose the Best Chocolate

3 Responses to “ How to Choose the Best Chocolate ”

  1. Chocoholic on January 27th, 2011 1:11 pm

    I was in the grocery store yesterday and came across several types of cocoa powders. They had dutch cocoa and an organic variety that was not processed with alkali. I decided to go home and do a little research before I bought either. This is when I came across your article. Thanks to you I can go back with the confidence that I making the best choice.

  2. Rachel Assuncao, Health Coach on September 12th, 2011 6:19 pm

    Great tips! I think the best part about good quality dark chocolate is that you truly can eat a small square or two and feel totally satisfied – a bar can last weeks.

    For me, opting for fair trade chocolate is incredibly important too. Chocolate that isn’t produced this way is linked to more than 100,000 children, mostly in West Africa, who are forced into hard labor on cocoa farms. It’s awfully hard to give my daughter chocolate, unless I know another small child wasn’t harmed in it’s production.</a/ is a great resource for learning more – including a list of slave free chocolate producers..

  3. Melissa Halas-Liang on November 12th, 2011 11:35 am

    Hi Rachel, It’s nice to enjoy something like dark chocolate, knowing another child’s life or environment isn’t harmed. I appreciate your good will for your brothers and sisters! Keep it up.

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