Chocolates are delightful treats enjoyed across the world. We Filipinos have loved chocolates since colonial times. We fall in love with chocolates because generally, we love sugar and rich-flavored foods. But with the growing local cacao industry and awareness on healthier choices, the dark chocolate started rising to fame.
Dark chocolate, also known as black, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate, is a healthier alternative than milk or white chocolate. Its main ingredients are cocoa powder and cocoa butter with minimal to no sugar or milk. It offers several health benefits, and in this article, we made a detailed buying guide and a recommendation list of the best dark chocolates.
In general, chocolates contain tryptophan, an ingredient needed by our body to produce the mood-elevating serotonin, the happiness hormone. Dark chocolates will not only make us happier because there are other health benefits that they can offer.
Dark chocolates contain several compounds that possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals that inflict damage on cells and tissues in the body that contribute to the aging process and the development of various diseases.
Some studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart diseases. Some compounds in dark chocolate, specifically flavanols, prevent two major risk factors for heart disease - high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also be your natural insulin because it also reduces the risk of diabetes.
Dark chocolate also contains certain compounds such as polyphenols and theobromine that may reduce low-density lipoprotein or LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and increase high-density lipoprotein or HDL, also referred to as the "good" cholesterol.
The taste of dark chocolate is already a big hit and could sell quickly. Aside from taste, brand, or budget, here are the other factors to consider when choosing a great dark chocolate.
When choosing dark chocolate, look for bars with a cocoa content of at least 60%. These possess a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients than chocolates with a lower cocoa percentage.
Consuming chocolate with higher cocoa content is associated with several health benefits, such as improved heart health and brain function. Many chocolates with a higher cocoa percentage also tend to be lower in sugar.
In making chocolates, all cocoa beans go through fermentation, roasting, and hulling, and then eventually turned into a paste. Through pressing, cocoa powder and cocoa butter separate. This is the natural process, which produces untreated and acidic chocolates.
On the other hand, dutching is a chocolate treatment method known as alkalization. This method adds an alkali solution that changes the color of the chocolate and mellows down the bitter taste.
While it reduces the acidity of the chocolates, several studies have demonstrated that dutching significantly reduces the amount of antioxidants in chocolate.
For this reason, some advised avoiding chocolates that went through the dutching process. Others defended that the process only reduces the antioxidants but not removed completely, so people with acidic stomachs can still enjoy chocolates. The rest says to eat a balance of both.
With this dilemma, consuming either the natural or dutch-processed chocolates would now depend on the person's condition. To verify whether chocolate has been dutched, check the ingredients list for something along the lines of "cocoa processed with alkali."
Basically, the higher the cocoa content, the lower the amount of sugar will be. Dark chocolates usually indicate the cocoa percentage - the remaining percentage is for sugar and other ingredients like fats. Based on the recommended cocoa percentage, 60%, sugar content must be 40% or below. If it's 100% cocoa, then it's sugar free!
The recommended daily intake of sugar is 25 grams for female adults and 36 grams for males. Look at the nutrition facts panel on product labels to make sure you're not eating more than the recommended amount, especially when you're trying to be more health-conscious.
If you have a sweet tooth, you may still enjoy dark chocolates with a higher sugar content, but make sure you do it in moderation.
Let your taste buds feast with other delicious variants of dark chocolates. Aside from breaking the monotony of a plain dark chocolate bar, additions like nuts, fruits, or mint also offer several health benefits.
Nuts like almonds and peanuts are high in protein and fiber that are assets to weight loss. Berries add a sweet and sour taste, and they still keep a little Vitamin C when processed properly. Mint adds a cooling sensation that helps freshen breath and relaxes the stomach.
However, be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure you don't ingest anything you're allergic to. Chocolates usually contain milk, soy, or peanuts, which are common allergens.
Let's bring out the inner Willy Wonka in us and go though our list of ten excellent dark chocolates you can purchase online
|Sugar Content||7 g|
|Other Ingredients||Vanilla, Peanuts, Hazelnuts Almonds, Soy and Milk|
|Sugar Content||50 g|
|Other Ingredients||Milk, Soy|
|Net Weight||180 g per Pack|
|Net Weight||60 g|
|Sugar Content||Approx. 12.5 g|
|Sugar Content||9 g per 15 g of Chocolate Square|
|Other Ingredients||Milk Fat, Vanilla, Peppermint Oil|
|Net Weight||151 g per Pack|
|Sugar Content||40 g|
|Other Ingredients||Acai Berries and Blueberries, Milk and Milk Fats|
|Net Weight||85 g|
|Other Ingredients||Milk, Soy|
|Net Weight||38g per pack (3 pcs)|
|Sugar Content||140 g|
|Other Ingredients||Milk, Soy|
|Net Weight||283 g|
|Sugar Content||12 g|
|Other Ingredients||Milk Powder, Soy|
|Sugar Content||18 g|
|Other Ingredients||Sweet Yellow Mango, Cacao Nibs, Dried Chili|
|Net Weight||45 g|
Lindt & Sprüngli
Goya Foods Inc.
Meiji Holdings Inc.
Theo & Philo
Lindt Dark Chocolate Series
Old Gold Dark Chocolate
85% Midnight Chocolate with Almonds
MS3 Dark Chocolate
Ghirardelli Dark & Mint Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry Flavor
Goya Dark Chocolate (Pack of 3)
Kisses Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolates
Meiji Black Chocolate
65% Dark Chocolate with Mango, Chili and Cacao Nibs
Classic Dark Chocolate with Sweet Earthy Aroma
Old Gold Means Rich in Chocolate Flavor
A Rich Chocolate with Almonds from an Organic Cacao Farm
Great Tasting Chocolate with Coconut Sugar
Bittersweet And Minty Sensation For an After Dinner Delight
The Berry Delicious Dark Chocolate with a Fruit Inside
Budget-friendly Philippine Dark Chocolate for the Sweet Tooth
An Indulging Treat with Mild Sweetness from Our Well-Loved Brand
An Exquisite Dark Milky Chocolate
Local Artisan Chocolates with a Sweet and Spicy Flair
|Price Starts at||₱250||₱275||₱153||₱120||₱399.75||₱137.5||₱50||₱280||₱55||₱115|
|Sugar Content||7 g||50 g||Unspecified||Approx. 12.5 g||9 g per 15 g of Chocolate Square||40 g||20g||140 g||12 g||18 g|
|Other Ingredients||Vanilla, Peanuts, Hazelnuts Almonds, Soy and Milk||Milk, Soy||Almond||None||Milk Fat, Vanilla, Peppermint Oil||Acai Berries and Blueberries, Milk and Milk Fats||Milk, Soy||Milk, Soy||Milk Powder, Soy||Sweet Yellow Mango, Cacao Nibs, Dried Chili|
|Net Weight||100g||180 g per Pack||60 g||50g||151 g per Pack||85 g||38g per pack (3 pcs)||283 g||25g||45 g|
Chef Ina Garten, author of Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, shared her French Chocolate Bark recipe via the Food Network YouTube channel. She used a combination of two dark chocolates: semisweet with 50% cocoa and bittersweet with 70%.
Munch some more as you read our reviews for other recommended food products. You'll surely satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, and it generally contains less sugar than milk chocolate. Some studies show that dark chocolate may lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function.
We can add dark chocolates to our diet. However, we should keep in mind that even it is healthier than regular chocolates, eating in moderation is still the key.
Author: Roel Pillas Malubay
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