You should take good care of your heart because heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. Not only should you exercise more frequently, but you should also consider watching your diet. The type of foods that you eat can greatly affect your heart's health. In particular, indulging in a little bit of chocolate every day can be great for your heart. When stopping by at a chocolatier for a custom chocolate box, here are 3 things you should consider.
Choose Dark Chocolate Over Other Alternatives
If you're concerned about having a cardiovascular event, choose dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate. Studies show that dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 60% to 70% can reduce the chances of having cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and strokes. Dark chocolate can lower one's blood pressure and cholesterol, especially when consumed for long periods of time.
Dark chocolate also contains less sugar and calories. Milk chocolate contains approximately 50 grams of carbs per 100 grams while dark chocolate contains only about 8 to 35 grams of carbs per 100 grams. As a result, dark chocolate is better for weight loss. Dark chocolate also contains more micronutrients like polyphenols. You'll love a custom chocolate box filled with dark chocolates, as dark chocolate goes well with many different types of beverages and snacks.
Check Whether the Chocolate Was Processed
Depending on how the chocolate was processed, the amount and type of nutrients that can be obtained from the chocolates will differ. In particular, you should stray away from chocolates that have gone through Dutch processing. Dutch processing is a form of alkali processing that raises the pH of the chocolate and makes it less bitter in turn. While Dutch processing can improve the flavor of the chocolate, it will greatly reduce the amount of micronutrients available, especially flavonoids.
Flavonoids are molecules that have been known to help reduce cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids are commonly found in plants and fruits, affect cell signalling pathways and have antioxidant effects. In the 1990s, a Dutch research group found that the risk of coronary death in men who consumed over 30 milligrams of flavonols per day was reduced by over 70%. You want to look for chocolates that have not been processed much. These chocolates may not taste as sweet; however, they tend to be a lot healthier in comparison to processed chocolates.
Pick Chocolates with Real Fruits and Skip Sweet Fillings
If you're looking to add some variety and flavors to your custom chocolate box, choose chocolates that were flavored by fruits and other natural ingredients. For example, blueberries are great for lowering blood pressure and for decreasing the risk of heart disease. These ingredients are not only rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals but also contain less sugars than sweet fillings like caramel or fudge.
You'll find that dark chocolate also goes very well with these additional ingredients. This is particularly true since dark chocolate tends to be a bit bitter. These additional ingredients will add some sweetness to your custom chocolate box and will also help to enhance the flavors and texture of the different chocolates in your custom box.
A custom chocolate box can help you improve the health of your heart and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Indulging in just a little bit of chocolate may be the key to keeping you healthy and happy. You'll also find a lot of different flavors and assortments of chocolates available at your local chocolatiers. In fact, many chocolatiers often create different types of chocolates based around different themes or different ingredients that may be available each season. You'll never get bored of your custom chocolate box.
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