Chocolate, though often high in calories, is actually one of the healthiest food products we can eat. The secret if reaping the benefits from chocolate is to eat it in it’s purest form; i.e., dark or bittersweet chocolate with at least 60 to 70% pure cocoa butter, which is chocolate in it’s most natural state. Chocolate in commercial chocolate candy and chocolate bars though often contain high amounts of sugar, as well as corn syrup, and a number of preservatives which we can really do without.
Studies made by some of the leading commercial chocolate producing companies have found that worldwide, some 69% of total chocolate consumption is bittersweet chocolate, with milk chocolate coming in second at 21% and white chocolate third at 10%.
The best types of natural chocolate is the dark, bittersweet variety usually found in high quality natural and organic foods stores; and much of this kind of chocolate comes from central America and the Caribbean. The making of chocolate has been in existence in Central America for more than 3,000 years. The health benefits include a number of alkaloids which not only induce a pleasurable effect on the body but also are help reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases by lowering blood pressure levels.
Besides its confectionery qualities, chocolate is also widely used in baking cakes and cookies. Who hasn’t enjoyed a truly well made chocolate cake, or chocolate chip cookies and brownies? Chocolate fondue dips are also a favorite at parties, especially during the winter months.
Those who fancy the types of chocolate that is sold in high quality candy and confectionery stores will find a garden of earthly delights in a product that is still one of the most popular gift items for romantic calendar dates such as anniversaries, and of course Valentine’s or Love Day, in which gifts of chocolate are becoming popular in countries like China and Japan.
Although Switzerland is still well acclaimed for it’s chocolate, especially milk chocolate, Belgium is perhaps the king of truly quality chocolates such as Godiva which must be constantly under refrigeration and is sold by weight. Fine quality chocolate of this type can sell for $50 a pound, and is definitely a cut above the “Mister Goodbar” types you usually find in discount department stores.
Of course, chocolate is high in calories and must be eaten in moderation, or most of its health benefits will be null and void. But if people know their “chocolate limit” and don’t overdo it, why not enjoy all the merits of fine chocolate, especially its taste!