In its simplest terms, chocolate which is conspicuous by the absence of milk solids is referred to as dark chocolate.
This type of chocolate contains little or no sugar something which is determined by the dark chocolate brand and the percentage content of cocoa solids and cocoa butter is also higher than its brethren of milk chocolates.
Nutritional Profile of Dark Chocolates
Let’s discover what makes dark chocolate so great:
Each bar of dark chocolate which weighs 100gm contains 70-85% cocoa solids besides 1% of water. The calorie count is somewhere around 598 of which there are 8% protein, 43% fat and 46% carbohydrates.
Amongst the carbohydrate part, 24gm of it is sugar and 11gm of it is fiber. 24g, 12g, and 1g of the fat are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated respectively. The cholesterol count stands at 3mg.
Minerals and Vitamins
Dark chocolate is relatively rich in minerals and vitamins providing 92% of the daily recommended dose of Iron, 64% of magnesium, 44% of phosphorus, 35% of zinc and 29% of Vitamin B6. Low or trace amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, and K are also found in dark chocolate.
It also contains minute amounts of calcium and potassium.
Cocoa the main ingredient of dark chocolate also contains something termed as phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are nothing but plant compounds produced by it in its course of survival. Dark chocolates contain a wide variety of phytochemicals like alkaloids, flavonoids, caffeine, and phenethylamine. The flavonols that constitutes a part of dark chocolate include epicatechins, monomers and
Phytochemicals are plants metabolism created compounds made by it to help in survival. Alkaloids, flavonoids and caffeine are the phytochemicals you will find in dark chocolate.
For most of the people out there these names don’t mean a single thing, but it should suffice to say the to health experts these compounds are of great value something we will discuss a little more elaborately next in this buying guide.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE
It is only natural that dark chocolate is endowed with many health effects if it is consumed considering it includes a wide assortment of minerals, vitamins and other compounds that boost the health.
But the question that comes to one’s mind is how it exactly serves its health functions and what you need to do to see visible benefits.
IT PROTECTS FROM DISEASE
If you consume dark chocolate on a regular basis not only do you get to delight your taste buds every once in a while but also ensure that your body remains protected from disease.
Antioxidants and Free radicals
There are certain things in the human body called free radicals that can cause a large number of diseases. What happens is that oxidative stress occurs in the body when the latter is unable to rein in the number of free radical compounds.
This oxidative stress is believed to play a vital part in several diseases including life-threatening ones like cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also plays a vital role in arthritis development. In order to avoid this situation, the body as a defense mechanism creates something which is known as antioxidants.
This includes things like minerals vitamins as well as phytochemicals.
We Highly recommend you to read the Dark Chocolate Buying Guide at the end of this article to get in-depth knowledge about latest dark chocolate technologies and tips on making an informed decision about which product to buy for your needs 🙂
Top 10 Dark Chocolates in India
Although my favorite among all is Pacari 70% Cacao Organic Dark Chocolate but you must check all of them to make your buying decision.
It is a raw dark chocolate bar with 70% cacao. This cacao is derived from the rainforests of Ecuador. The chocolate itself is of the color very dark brown.
The pre-broken mold has 18 blocks. The flavor of the chocolate is melty and very, very earthy with the cocoa tones underneath providing sweetness.
The middle is composed of a complex woody flavor. The cacao used is mossy and quite sweet. The cbar has a strong snap beside a beautiful melt.
One is surprised by the fact that this is a raw bar as it has none of the grittiness that accompanies raw bars and has a very likable chocolate flavor.
The bar is crafted from ingredients that are exclusive of the highest quality.
The bar is crafted to perfection and the impressively rich and bold taste is the result of the use of premium cacao.
The processing of the chocolate’s cacao ingredients has been kept to a bare minimum.
The bar has been through and through stored at low temperatures so that it retains all of its antioxidant goodness besides maintaining natural cacao’s complex profile as far as its flavor is concerned.
Meant for people who want a more deliciously dark punch from their fruity chocolate that’s sensationally 80% dark bar.
This is the dark chocolate bar who yearn for the intensity of dark cocoa.
The high notes of the bar are that of citrus and the cocoa beans from Madagascar make their presence felt thanks to the fruitfulness and acidity that it has been endowed by nature.
It does not taste exceptionally good, the bar comes with all the health benefits that dark chocolate is famous for besides its irresistible taste.
The chocolate maker from Madagascar Menakao creates its irresistible chocolate on the Madagascar island using only indigenous ingredients making it the rarest of rare chocolates as according to estimates the percentage of chocolate produced in the same country in which the cocoa is grown stands at 5%.
With this Menakao get ready to indulge your taste buds in some rapturous dark chocolate taste!
This 85% intensely dark chocolate bar is totally organic and brought to you by Mason & Co. The bar to totally vegan and free from things like soy and gluten.
The chocolate is crafted from only the very best beans sourced from all over the world directly from farmers themselves or from farmer partners.
Some of the beans also come from India. Remember that these are premium beans sourced exclusively farms the makers have visited personally.
The ingredients and flavors used in the dark chocolate are not only new but exciting as well.
Since the year 1845 the chocolatiers, Lindt has been busy perfecting their unique secret chocolate recipes.
They profess to be driven by nothing other than the quest to find perfection in chocolate quality in a way that conforms to the highest standards of creative excellence.
In this, they employ raw materials and ingredients that are the finest of their kind and of the highest quality.
This particular Dark chocolate with 85% cacao has a truly outstanding earthy flavor along with a dash of fruit notes that are like really intense.
1 square of the chocolate block daily should do to satiate your chocolate cravings. Besides, it is great health wise too due to the non-alkalized nature of the cocoa.
The chocolate contains no added sugar or emulsifiers. It also contains healthy amounts of protein and fiber.
This dark chocolate stands out by virtue of its luxuriously deep intensity of taste.
The flavor is a full-bodied one with hints of the smoothness that characterizes dark chocolate from Belgium.
This 72% cocoa containing dark chocolate is just perfect for a bold reverie at midnight. All those who really like good dark chocolate will not fail to appreciate this bar from Godiva.
It is time you immersed your sense with the luxurious experience of dark chocolate.
Godiva has been since 1926 crafting smooth chocolate that’s deliciously rich bearing hallmarks of both exquisite craftsmanship and artistic flair.
The bar is rich, smooth and delicious. The intense notes of cocoa are finely balanced by the finish of mellow cream making up for an indulgent chocolate experience.
This chocolate is just meant for you if you want something that will give you the rich and decadent taste of authentic Belgian dark chocolate sans any type of sugars.
The chocolate amazes you by its ability to offer such an exquisite and exceptional taste at such low sugar content.
The manufacturer Guylian provides that guarantee that these dark chocolates have had no sugars added to them whilst at the same time retaining the same delight of taste buds that only Belgian chocolate commands.
Instead of sugar, these dark chocolate bars contain Maltitol which is a pleasant and sweet alternative to sugar without in any way sacrificing on taste.
The chocolate contains 54% cocoa.
For the ultimate satisfaction of your sweet tooth, the all-natural velvety taste that’s deeply luxurious of this chocolate is a must.
A bite of this chocolate seems to make time stop in its tracks as it brings an enduring and pleasurable moment to savor.
The chocolate is made from kosher dairy and adds a mysterious flavor of dark chocolate that’s made up of 72% cacao with hints of blackberry, mocha and dark cherry that just incites the senses.
The chocolate adds the perfect tasty intensity to make the dinner perfect. The complex dark taste and the bar vividly nuanced makes you rave about it.
Containing 50% cocoa this Dark Chocolate Bar with rich cocoa from Cadbury is simply irresistible to the absolute delight of the tastebuds.
The chocolate with its smooth texture ensures that you end your day on a perfect and high note.
Your urges for something sweet sometimes be satisfied with something so palatable as this dark chocolate.
Each chunk of the chocolate exudes all the health benefits and exquisite taste that it is associated with.
The makers ensure that only the cocoa beans that are of the finest variety go into the making of this Bournville chocolate.
Consumers can now finally afford the goodness and luxury of dark chocolate that’s of truly premium quality.
These special dark chocolate giant bars from Hershey bring the true European taste of chocolate to Indian homes.
These bare are significantly creamier than its normal Hershey bar counterpart. Though the latter is cheaper it also leaves you with a plastic feeling.
It is more affordable than the other premium chocolates which originate from Europe though there is indeed a very slight compromise with quality.
Considering the balance of quality and affordability this chocolate bar is definitely worth it.
This chocolate lets you feel and taste something that is truly special and is something that does a good job for occasions and as gifts.
This Chocholik Belgium Chocolates Dark 70% Intense Bar truly makes up for an out of this world experience.
The manufacturer is well known for its Belgian chocolates of international quality that serves as a perfect gift to anyone for any season or occasion.
The packaging too is similarly of the highest order. The chocolate gives true life to your senses thanks to the delightful experience of chocolate that it provides.
With the chocolate, you get a first-hand experience of the exquisite craftsmanship of the chocolatiers of this company not to mention their excellence and expertise in what they do.
It blends the cocoa beans that have the best aroma along with ingredients of the finest quality.
The end result is refined chocolate of exquisite taste, elegant texture, and intense flavor.
Buyer's Guide - How to Purchase Dark Chocolates
How Chocolate Can Help
Dark chocolate is especially rich in flavonoids and polyphenols even more than its white counterparts. These two substances are actually antioxidants that help the body to get rid of free radicals.
In fact, dark chocolate’s cocoa contains the highest amounts of these antioxidant compounds. In reality, the levels are higher than even tea and red wine.
One of the main indicators of having sound health is a healthy heart. It would be perhaps surprising to learn in this context that dark chocolate helps you take care of your heart too.
Dark Chocolate Contains Flavanols
Many of the heart-friendly characteristics of dark chocolate is due to the fact that it contains the compound Flavanols. Flavanols serve to lower the pressure of the blood in the body and also boosts the flow of blood into the heart as well as the brain.
In addition, flavanols have been found to lower the stickiness of blood platelets which in turn lowers the risks of strokes and blood clots. In the year 2007, a comparative study of dark chocolate with flavanols and white chocolate free from flavanols was conducted.
The dark chocolate affected blood flow positively while the white chocolate failed to exhibit any significant improvement.
The Pubmed publication has four whole pages dedicated to the scientific research the effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure.
Dark Chocolate also Contains Polyphenol
It should be kept in mind that dark chocolate is rich in Polyphenol which serves to make a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic readings of blood pressure in people who are suffering from a combination of diabetes in addition to high blood pressure.
It also serves to lessen that amount of sugar in the blood. The most amazing thing about this study was the fact that the test subjects were intaking only 25gm of chocolate a day which means there was no impact on the BMI or the person’s weight.
Flavonoids are at work for dark chocolates! These chemical compounds increase the flow of blood to the brain. Naturally, there are of mighty use in health conditions that require higher amounts of blood flow to the brain. Cocoa-like tea and wine are teeming with flavonoids.
To cite the example of a scientific study in which more than 2000 adults aged 70 and up were examined for the relationship between the consumption of high levels of flavonoids and better cognitive performance.
The results indicated that consuming high amounts of food rich in flavonoids serve to improve several areas of cognitive performance.
Protection from the Sun
Flavonoids are really fantastic when you consider the fact that they have amazing health benefits for the skin too. Experts contend that consuming flavanols results in the bettering of blood flow to the skin too besides increasing the hydration and density of the skin. As prove we may consider the following study:
The MED or minimal erythemal dose is the minimum sun exposure time for UVB rays to create trouble like making the skin red. In a study of over 30 individuals spread across 12 weeks, it was found that consuming chocolate that’s high on flavanols increases the MED by almost double.
Dark chocolate makes you feel good
PEA or phenylethylamine is yet another helpful ingredient of dark chocolate. It is perhaps surprising to know that this is the same chemical created by the brain when people are falling in love, It also serves to encourage your brain to produce endorphins.
Endorphins are produced after exercises and help to make you feel good. They also make opiate receptors active thus creating a natural effect of killing the pain.
Its all in the smell
The last thing we would like to point out in favor of dark chocolate is that it calms the mind. Its smell affects people’s theta waves as researchers at Middlesex University found out from volunteers. It should be noted in this context that synthetic chocolates are found to be devoid of this effect.
Tips for Choosing Dark Chocolate
Look for dark chocolate that certified organic
Some of the dark chocolate products out there are certified to be organic. This way you can be sure that they have not been genetically engineered (GE). Unfortunately for us most of the dark chocolate we come across in the course of our lives is GE.
Such chocolates have had the genetic code tampered with by the introduction of foreign genes which affect things like their taste, how they grow and also their appearance. Such genetically engineered food has not been unanimously proved safe. It is better to stick to natural dark chocolates for the time being.
State of the constituting cocoa
Cocoa which is in its natural raw state has the highest value in terms of nutrition. The best situation is when your cocoa is consumed raw as cacao. As a rule of thumb, darker chocolates have higher cacao.
It should be remembered that the taste of cacao is bitter and the more concentrated is the cacao content the bitter the chocolate is. If possible, go for a chocolate bar made with raw cacao. If you can’t do that try tasting dark chocolate made up of organic cocoa.
Make sure the ingredients are kept at a minimum
The swiftest way you can know whether dark chocolate is good or not is to go through the list of ingredients. Simplicity is the key here and it is best for you to choose cocoa or cacao and chocolate as the top three ingredients that make up that particular dark chocolate.
In the absence of the exact composition in terms of percentage or amount being spelled out check how high these three are in the ingredient list. The best dark chocolates have coconut butter or cocoa butter, cocoa or cacao in addition to a natural sweetener as its ingredients.
Try to avoid dry chocolates that have things like hydrogenated fats, soy products, thickeners, milk solids, humectants and their like as they are likely to make the dark chocolate bereft of its health benefits.
Low amounts of sugar
Due to the fact that the natural taste of cocoa and cacao are bitter hence it is only natural that dark chocolate manufacturers would try to mix loads of sugar.
Avoid dark chocolates that are sweetened by sugars like corn syrup, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, other types of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Instead opt for natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, honey or pure maple syrup. Usually, the darker the chocolate gets the less amount of sugar it has. Try to consume dark chocolates that have cocoa in excess of 70%.
Type of contained fats
In the really good dark chocolate out there the fats help to slow the process of sugar absorption thereby making the insulin spike less severe. The type of fat you ideally want in your dark chocolate is cocoa butter something that’s there in that natural plant.
Other good options are unrefined coconut oil which when broken down to monolaurin by body metabolism has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Enjoy in limited amounts
It is often tempting to have too much of a thing as good as dark chocolate. Though there is no exact dark chocolate dose defined but a small portion of the same taken one to three times every day is the right way to go about it.
Remember if you overdo things all the fat and sugar can add up pretty fast adding to your waistline.