You have probably heard a lot about the health benefits, namely antioxidants called flavonoids, in dark chocolate and their ability to reduce high blood pressure. In fact, there is some research that suggests that these antioxidants may be more potent in dark chocolate than in green tea or red wine. That’s powerful stuff! However, I do want to make it clear that you can get the same benefit from fruits and vegetables. They are also lower in calories and saturated fat, higher in fiber…you know the drill.
If you do choose dark chocolate, you would want to look for at least 65% cocoa, ideally 70%. You could go darker but it may get bitter. Milk interferes with the absorption of the antioxidants so milk chocolate, or dark chocolate eaten with milk, will not give you the same benefit. Beware of dark chocolate that is “Dutch processed with alkali“. That process will strip it of its antioxidants so be sure to read the ingredient lists. It should read something like this:
Dark Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin added as an emulsifier, and vanilla).
And always remember, even if it is dark, it is still a treat so count it in your “10%“.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD