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The health benefits of hi-cocoa chocolate are many.
Researchers from Harvard University School of Public Health concluded that cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Decreasing LDL oxidation
- Anti-inflammation action
Other research suggests there is involvement of free radicals in a number of degenerative diseases associated with aging, such as cancer, cognitive impairment
Some researchers say A few squares of dark chocolate a day can reduce the risk of death from heart attack by almost 50% in some cases.
What makes hi-cocoa chocolates so healthy?
"Antioxidants are the key"
Studys show that cocoa's antioxidants -- called flavonoids -- coax the body into making more nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels which improve heart health.
Researchers also say that cocoa is rich in a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols which are effective at lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease.
So which type of chocolate has the most antioxidant flavonoids? The highest levels are in natural cocoa powder (not dutched cocoa, though, because it is alkalized cocoa).
Bottom line is:
Antioxidants in cocoa help your heart by keeping your blood vessels relaxed, thus easing blood pressure and helping circulation. So maybe a piece or two of hi-cocoa chocolate a day is a delicious and satisfying way to get and stay healthy and might help keep the doctor away.
Storage & Care of Chocolate
In hot climates or during the summer, chocolate can be stored in the refrigerator, although this isn't ideal as the chocolate may absorb odors from other foods. Dark chocolate actually improves with age, like a fine wine, if stored in an airtight container at 60-65°F. Chocolate should be wrapped tightly and kept in a cool, dry place with a temperature ranging from 60-75°F.
If the storage temperature exceeds 75°F, some of the cocoa butter may appear on the surface, causing the chocolate to develop a whitish cast, known as "bloom." The chocolate will still be fine to eat.
Blooming of chocolate products is the most common problem you will encounter in the world of chocolate. There are two forms of "bloom": fat bloom and sugar bloom.
Fat bloom is the visible accumulation of large cocoa butter crystals on the chocolate surface. It is often accompanied by numerous minute cracks that dull the appearance of the chocolate.
Sugar bloom is a crystallization of sugar that is often caused by high humidity and the formation of condensate ("sweating") when cold product is brought into a warm area.
To differentiate between fat and sugar blooms, fat bloom will feel oily and melt when touched, while sugar bloom will feel grainy to the touch. Poor storage conditions cause fat bloom. To prevent bloom, it is important not to expose chocolate to wide fluctuations in temperature; instead, make all temperature changes gradually. Although it may look unpleasant, bloomed chocolate is fine to eat.