In the event that chocolate is on your someday or later list or even if you are choosing to indulge simply by choice, here are some things to know.
Chocolate, in the form most often presented, is pretty much garbage. Yes, commercial processing, sugar, oils and dairy diminish the amazing health benefits of the true star chocolate can be and instead makes it a mere flickering bulb. We’re sure you already knew that but just in case some flickering justification of health leads you to a Hershey bar, consider this the hand slap you may need.
Cacao, not cocoa, is what you need to be looking for. Cacao is the raw, less processed highly nutritious form of what has been pedaled as treats and sweets for so many years.
Cacao is one of the best sources of magnesium as well as one of the highest sources of antioxidants.
If you’re looking for the purest form of this powerhouse, look for raw cacao nibs, powder, or paste. Cacao in these forms is unbeaten and untreated. Nibs are cut up cacao beans. Powder is gently dried beans that are ground, and paste is smashed up cacao nibs.
In the event that cacao is unavailable, cocoa is also highly nutritious. Cocoa is the roasted form of cacao. Look for it in its purest form of powder without added milk, fat or sugar.
If you must indulge in an actual chocolate, as it is generally known, look for a vegan (milk free) version of dark chocolate. The label should tell you the cacao or cocoa content in percentages. You will be looking for anything higher than 70% percent cocoa. The higher the percentage the darker the chocolate. It builds flavor as it darkens. From sweet to nearly bitter.
Keep in mind, the best chocolate for your health is its purest form. Any processing diminishes these properties to some degree.
As with all foods, we recommend informed choice. Choose freely, but know what you’re choosing. If cacao nibs are inside your commitment to health, we say go for it.