Looking for a delicious dessert that also offers lower blood pressure, reduced diabetes risk, and weight loss? Look no further…
Chocolate: the answer to every special occasion, breakup, last-minute gift, or moment of indulgence.
In the case of dark chocolate, the treat may also offer a wealth of health benefits, says Kelly Kennedy, RD, resident nutritionist for Everyday Health.
More research is needed, but studies suggest dark chocolate’s cacao offers disease-fighting antioxidants, while its flavonoids (a compound found in fruit and veggies, too!) may help boost heart health by lowering blood pressure, Kennedy explains. A review published in November 2011 in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling suggests snacking on a bar may also reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, protect your skin, reduce inflammation, increase feelings of fullness, and possibly even improve brain function. How sweet is that?
The important thing to keep in mind is not all dark chocolate is created equal. Kennedy explains that what people typically think of when they hear “dark chocolate” has little, if any, resemblance to cacao in its natural form and as a result does not contain the previously mentioned health benefits.
That’s why it’s key to look for dark chocolate “with at least 60 percent cacao,” she says. This will not only help guarantee that you are getting a rich source of antioxidants, but also ensure you get fewer additives, such as cream and sugar, which can have the opposite desired effect on your health and waistline.
Here are some of our favorites to start with:
1. Endorfin Foods Turkish Coffee 60% Cacao Chocolate Bar
This bar is for coffee lovers and chocolate lovers alike. It uses fresh cardamom and whole coffee beans (roasted from Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco), which are both milled directly into the chocolate to capture the essence of both flavors. With its limited contents, you can bet you’re getting nothing but natural ingredients: cacao, coconut sugar, caramelized coconut, coffee butter, cardamom, and coffee.
Endorfine Foods Turkish Coffee Chocolate Bar, $4.69, Thrivemarket.com
2. Theo Chocolate Organic Dark Chocolate 85%
Since 2006, Theo Chocolate has been producing sustainable, fair trade, organic chocolate. Its original dark chocolate bar keeps it simple with only three ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, and vanilla beans. Its minimalist and organic approach is what makes this bar so reliably healthy but also deliciously rich and satisfying.
Theo Chocolate Organic Pure Dark Chocolate, $2.99, Thrivemarket.com
3. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate With Forest Mint 72%
If you’re looking to stay healthy and help a good cause at the same time, this is the chocolate bar for you. Endangered Species Fair Trade Dark Chocolate produces delicious, ethically traded, organic, gluten-free chocolate — and 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to wildlife conservation charities. Try the Forest Mint for a refreshing kick to your decadent chocolate.
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate With Forest Mint, $2.69, Thrivemarket.com
4. Pure7 Dark Chocolate Bar 100%
Ready to go all out? With a whopping 100 percent cacao, Pure7’s complete chocolate bar takes organic to another level. Thrive reviewers say that this bar isn’t as bitter as you might expect from a 100 percent bar. One reviewer even pointed out that it’s “great for baking.”
Pure7 Dark Chocolate Bar, $4.79, Thrivemarket.com
5. Alter Eco Dark Salted Brown Butter Organic Chocolate Bar 70%
This smooth dark chocolate brings an extra buttery and salty indulgence to the table. Ecuadorian cacao beans, cocoa butter, and cream from heritage Swiss cows raise Alter Eco’s artisan (and organic) chocolate up another notch. The company’s chocolatiers then complete the treat with a touch of Fleur de Sel de Guérande for a salty-sweet finish.
|Read on: 8 Best Dark Chocolate Bars, According to a Dietitian | Everyday Health|