The Misunderstood Superfood We’ve been hearing for years that chocolate is actually good for our health, yet this kind of statement is extremely misleading. There is a specific type of chocolate that’s beneficial. And for those people with a super-sweet tooth, it is not the particularly appealing kind. Dark Chocolate. That’s right. And it has to be at least 70% cacao to be any good to you indoors and especially out. We really don’t need to enter it’s origins. It’s pretty commonly known that chocolate comes from the cacao beans in the tropical regions of the world, such as Africa, Madagascar, and South America. Just like coffee, it’s a lot more familiar to us customers once it’s been processed and roasted much farther from its natural state. But we need to see that the less processed our chocolate, the more beneficial it is. Right out of the cacao bean, the pulp and seeds are known as cacao. It will not become cocoa until it’s been roasted and ground up good. So when you are in the shop and you see”70% cacao” or”88% cacao”, you generally know you’re getting the real unadulterated stuff. Dark chocolate contains more cacao and so keeps it’s naturally-occurring compounds the media sing praises about. Trouble is, that good-for-you components, also called flavonoids or flavonols, are naturally bitter. When you’re eating semi-sweetened or milk chocolate, the manufacturers have replaced those compounds with sugar and milk so they would taste better. Frankly, your health isn’t the first thing on their minds… your taste buds are. My idea of chocolate is not the same as somebody else’s. Hell, my idea of chocolate is not even what is was 5 years back! The superficial Chocolate is the dark variety. And not just any chocolate. In fact, even if you find the chocolate bars that say”70% cacao” right on the front of the tag, you want to check the ingredients. The first ingredient listed is usually the primary ingredient. If it says anything besides”bittersweet chocolate” (I’ve seen”milk” in some), it is not going to be the real thing. By the way, in case you’re concerned about the”chocolate liquor” you often see on labels, don’t worry! It isn’t referring to anything alcoholic. After the cacao nibs are roasted and hulled from their shells, then ground to a gritty paste, this is what it’s called. I can not tell you how many times I had to clear this up for men and women who avoid alcohol for religious and health purposes. Personally, when I’m choosing dark chocolate, I have an extra criteria. I happen to prefer products in general that are good for the environment. Chocolate is definitely no exception, especially when it has the”Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal of approval on the label. This means that the cacao used to generate the chocolate was purchased from small and frequently family-owned proprietors that operate sustainably. This, in turn, protects the habitats and communities directly affected by these proprietors. And since the environment and its inhabitants are their first priority, I’m moved to purchase my chocolate out of them exclusively. I like people who care about something bigger than themselves. I was all about chocolate. I would grimace at the mention of bittersweet or dark chocolate. For a long time I believed it was an age-related taste, but even though a part of it could be true, I found as I was getting older my taste for such”mature” food hadn’t changed. What has changed it more recently, though, is the research I did to discover more about the”chocolate” they say is good for you. But that’s for next time!