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Dark chocolate is quickly becoming a superfood.

Organic extra dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) is packed with nutrition. There are so many reasons to eat dark chocolate.

It is important to eat the right kind of chocolate, as some are loaded with sugar or artificial ingredients. Dutched chocolate should be avoided, as it is treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color. This gives it a milder taste, but destroys most of its healthy polyphenols.

Chocolate has shown the potential to fight Alzheimer’s, reduce blood pressure, and even protect from heart disease.

Let’s take a look at 5 tips to buy better chocolate.

1. Go for bitter: Unfortunately, the term “dark chocolate” is not regulated by the FDA. Be sure to find chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao to ensure that it is real dark chocolate. Real dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, unlike sugary milk chocolate.

2. Simple ingredients are better: Keep it simple: cocoa beans, cocoa butter, vanilla, and sugar. Everything else is not needed. Some chocolate products contain many more unnecessary ingredients like food dyes, genetically modified ingredients, and artificial sweeteners. Stick to ingredients that you would be proud of having in your pantry.

3. Make sure it is wrapped: It is well documented that dark chocolate is great for health. But overindulging in anything can pose adverse effects as well. Go for individually wrapped chocolates to avoid overindulging.

4. Avoid dutched: If your chocolate is labeled “dutched” or “alkalized,” you should toss it and avoid it in the future. Both of these terms are processes that get rid of most of the healthy antioxidants. A study from the Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry showed that natural chocolate had 9 times more antioxidants than processed chocolate.

5. Combine with fruits: Chocolate products with dried fruits or nuts provide an extra boost of nutrition and fiber to provide bonus benefits on top of the benefits that chocolate already contains.

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Filed under: Buying Chocolate