Is chocolate healthy?
Over the last decade or so there has been an increasing body of evidence suggesting the health benefits of chocolate. In an earlier post we took a look at the health benefits of chocolate. For more on that, you can read that post here. To give you the short version, the more pure the cocoa and less processed it is, the more antioxidants the chocolate will contained and the better for it will be. I’d like to address some additional follow up topics in this post to address a couple of questions that still remained out there.
What Kind Of Chocolate Is The Healthiest?
Stay away from Dutch processed chocolate. As we talked about in our first post, processed chocolate decreases the amount of anti-oxidants found in chocolate. What you can do is avoid chocolate that is Dutch processed. To shorten the store a little bit, Dutch processing comes all the way to us from the 18th century thanks to a Dutchman named C.J. Van Houten. You’re going to remember that, right? This guy figured out that by separating cocoa solids from cocoa butter and by pressing them with an alkali treatment, the bitter acidlike flavors were reduced. The problem with this is that while your tongue might like the taste a lot better, the amount of anti-oxidants are reduced along the way.
What Are Cocoa Nibs?
Have you ever heard of cocoa nibs? Yeah, I didn’t either until I took a tour of a chocolate plantation when I was on my honeymoon in St. Lucia. Cocoa comes from the seeds of cocoa pods from the cocoa plant. Weird, right? Cocoa seeds are roasted (either by sunlight or by oven). The lower the temperature of the roasting, the more the seeds hold on to antioxidants. Once the seeds are roasted they can be broken down into smaller pieces and that’s exactly what the nibs are.
The awesome thing about these nibs is that you can either eat them in pieces or use a grinder (just like a pepper grinder) to have your own cocoa powder. The kind of grinder I use is to the left. Cocoa nibs provide the same health benefits as cocoa with a little extra oomph because of the minimal processing. Some of my favorite things to add nibs to is spaghetti squash that’s baked in the oven. I’ll put some butter on, and throw on a little cinnamon and ground cocoa nibs. Nibs also go well with a good summer salad to add a little chocolatey flavor.
What Kind Of Chocolate Should I Buy?
Look for all natural, unsweetened, or unprocessed. If you’re getting actual dark chocolate, aim for chocolate that’s 75%-100% dark chocolate. You might want to try on the lower end of that if you think the bitterness might be bothersome to you. Sometimes it might be a little easier to order your chocolate online if you are not near a store that carries that kind of thing.
Where Can I Find Cacao Powder And Nibs?