We all have our preferences when it comes to chocolate. Some prefer bitter dark chocolate, while others prefer the sweeter alternatives of milk and white bars. But did you know that one type is significantly healthier than the rest? Which one is it? Take your guess.
The answer: dark chocolate.
You may have heard of dark chocolate’s health benefits before, but do you know where those benefits are coming from? What makes this type of sweet treat your healthiest bet is the amount of flavonoids and antioxidants it contains.
Flavonoids and antioxidants are chemicals found within the actual cocoa seed: flavonoids are phytochemicals with the capacity to help maintain cardiovascular health. They lower the risk of cancer and decrease the risk of blood clotting by reducing platelet accumulation. Antioxidants are important for healthy cells and strong immune systems. They also reduce free radicals, which are associated with premature aging and cancer.
Dark chocolate generally contains a minimum of 35% nonfat chocolate liquor, and has more flavonoids and antioxidants than other types of chocolate.
So, how exactly do other types of chocolate compare?
Milk chocolate has at least 12% whole milk, and therefore has a greater fat content than dark. It also has 2-4 times fewer flavonoids and antioxidants, meaning that it provides fewer (but still some) of the aforementioned health benefits.
To all of you white chocolate fans – I’m sorry, but white chocolate technically isn’t even real chocolate since it contains no cocoa. It is the least healthy option and has the highest sugar content. If you’re looking for a sugar rush, though, this is probably your best bet.
As a general rule, the higher the cocoa percentage, the more flavonoids and the more antioxidants, and the greater the health benefits. If you’re looking for your healthiest, most nutritional option, aim for chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa.
So does this mean chocolate can be health food? Up to you- but it’s definitely not as unhealthy as you may think.
Craving dark chocolate now? Check out some of these recipes: