I'm a big fan of good quality, dark chocolate in the daily diet for many reasons, but I recently read a report in Consumer Lab about contaminants in dark chocolate. Some of these were brands that I had in my pantry and purchased from the local health food store. I immediately threw them out but plan to replenish with a better choice as I feel that good, dark chocolate can be a part of the daily diet for many reasons.
Cacao and cocoa comes from the fruit of the cacao tree. What's the difference between the two? Raw cacao powder or nibs are not heated or processed so they retain more of the health benefits. It's a good source of magnesium and also has iron, copper, zinc, calcium and some essential fats. Cocoa is processed using higher temperatures so it loses some of the health benefits, but there are still some of the minerals and antioxidants. In addition, many of the commercial types of cocoa have added sugar or artificial sweeteners, so when possible, choose raw cacao. I use raw cacao nibs or powder in my smoothies or in baked goods.
When buying raw cacao products, avoid these brands to avoid contaminants, such as lead and cadmium: Navitas, NOW, Sunfood, Trader Joe's, Ghirardelli, Hershey's, and Nestle. CocoaVia was the only brand that was approved. CocoaVia was approved.
If you are like most, you like to enjoy some chocolate as a treat. Although the cacao is processed to become chocolate, you can still indulge and get some of the health benefits. Here are some of the best choices. Just be sure you are choosing dark chocolate with over 70% cacao, better yet if it is over 80%. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with 88% Cocoa, Chocolove Extra Strong Dark Chocolate with 77% Cocoa, Green & Blacks Dark 85% Cocoa, and Dogoba Eclipse 87% Cacao.
Have some tonight!