Hershey’s Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is chocolate without milk solids added to it. Milk chocolate has a sweeter taste, while the dark version has a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is often referred to as semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate and is commonly used for baking. Semisweet chocolate is associated with chocolate chip cookies and other cooked confections, but it has also become popular as a snack. Bittersweet chocolate varies by brand as some use more sugar than others. According to the FDA, the bittersweet variety must contain at least 35% cacao or cocoa solids. Semisweet also averages about 35% cacao solids, but is usually much sweeter than bittersweet.
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Despite its benefits, dark chocolate should be eaten in reasonable amounts. It contains sugar and fat, so overindulgence could cause weight gain. Eat a smaller portion of dark chocolate to get the antioxidants, while limiting the calories. A medium-sized bar from a leading chocolate company contains 180 calories and 21 grams of sugar. It has 2 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat, of which 8 grams are saturated fat. However, the calorie and fat content can differ between brands; some dark chocolate bars contain 200 to 250 calories, and 17 to 24 grams of fat per serving. Dark chocolate contains the fats: oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid. Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated fat, the wholesome kind present in olive oil. Palmitic acid is a saturated fat that tends to raise low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Stearic acid is a saturated fat that does not increase or decrease cholesterol levels.
But, Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the vitamins and minerals in high concentrations. For example: Potassium, Copper, Magnesium and Iron. The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it every day can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well. The two heart health benefits of dark chocolate are: lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. For the past several years, various studies have been performed which have found that dark chocolate, indeed, does lower blood pressure. It is believed that the antixodant compounds which are found in plants and seeds, called flavonoids play a part in the lowering of blood pressure. Flavonoids, which can also be found in green and black teas, cherries, apples, red grapes and other deeply colored fruits and vegetables, have also been known to help with digestion, improve kidney, bowel function and sexual performance, and treat anemia and gout. One of the primary types of flavonoids, flavonol, is found in cocoa and chocolate. Scientists believe that the flavonoids help maintain a healthy blood flow in the arteries which help lower blood pressure, as well as cholesterol. Other studies show that eating chocolate prevents blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks. Blood platelets clump together more slowly in chocolate eaters.
Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke. In a recently published study in the journal, Neurology, a cohort of Swedish men (ages 49-75) eating higher amounts of chocolate had a significantly decreased risk of having a stroke, after accounting for other lifestyle variables....