Chocolate is one of the most favorite treat around the world. Chocolate could be consumed as chocolate bar, candy, beverages and baking. People from children to adult love chocolate, chocolate is also well known as a ‘Gift from God’. There are several types of chocolate well known worldwide such as raw chocolate, cocoa bean, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and based on the percentage of chocolate in the product there are unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate and sweet chocolate. Well, unsweetened chocolate is definitely chocolate without sugar, sweet chocolate is chocolate which is sweet and semisweet chocolate is chocolate which is quite bit sweet. So, bittersweet is somehow in the middle which is not bitter but not sweet at all.
What is Bittersweet Chocolate?
The term bittersweet chocolate is no longer common to be found in chocolate product but to define whether the product is bittersweet chocolate or not could be found from the percentage of sugar. Unsweetened chocolate with zero sugar, sweet chocolate with percentage of sugar more than 50% of the cocoa, semisweet with 50-50 cocoa and sugar and all chocolate products with additional sugar but less than 50% of cocoa considered to be bittersweet chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is commonly used in baking and interchangeable with the other types of chocolate, bittersweet chocolate is used by those who doesn’t really fond to bitter dark chocolate but don’t have sweet tooth as well.
Nutritional Values of Bittersweet Chocolate
Most of bittersweet chocolate product is made from cocoa, sugar (less than 50% of cocoa amount), more cocoa butter and vanilla flavor. When it comes to nutritional value, it may almost similar to the health benefits of dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. To learn more about its health benefits, below is the health benefits of bittersweet chocolate.
- Recommended for Weight Loss
Chocolate bar is the one responsible of chocolate’s bad reputation that could cause weight gain. Chocolate bar is more candy than chocolate and it is super high in calories. However, dark chocolate especially bittersweet chocolate contains more chocolate which is great snack during weight loss diet program.
- Excellent Source of Antioxidants
One of the antioxidants you could find in chocolate is polyphenols. Though this type of antioxidant could be found in almost plant-based food but in chocolate the amount is quite high even higher than polyphenols found in berries and pomegranate. One of the health benefits of cocoa is it is excellent source of antioxidants.
- Prevent Cancer
There are a lot of ways to fight cancer but to prevent it consuming foods that are rich of antioxidants are the best thing you could do. Consuming dark chocolate is probably one of the delicious ways to prevent cancer because it contains powerful antioxidants that could help fighting free radicals and preventing its worst effects.
- Promotes Heart Health
Some people may find it as a big surprise that bittersweet chocolate is actually excellent solution to regulate the symptoms of high blood pressure. There are some studies that showed evidence in some hypertension patients. Those patients were ordered to take dark chocolate regularly in eight weeks, surprisingly after eight week those patients appear to have lower blood pressure.
- Natural Stress Relief
It is a common knowledge that eating chocolate could help your brain producing certain hormone well known as serotonin or happy hormone. Whenever you feel stressful, drinking a cup of chocolate is not only giving you the calming effect but also clearing your mind so you will be ready to face whatever stressful situations that are waiting for you. In some studies, chocolate considered to be one of the powerful way to reduce the symptoms of depression as well.
- Manages Cholesterol Level
There are two types of cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL). Some studies have showed some evidence about the fact that chocolate is one of the foods that lower cholesterol level due to the ability of certain compounds found in dark chocolate which is positively increasing the amount of HDL to balance the amount of LDL.
- Super Food for Brain and Nerve Function
There is no one that could object the fact that chocolate is a super food for brain. Furthermore, dark or bittersweet chocolate contains less sugar that could be disturbing the function of brain due to its high glucose level. Consuming dark chocolate has been proven to help improving memory and focus.
- May be Good for Diabetic Patients
Some studies have shown the possibility of dark chocolate in helping regulating the blood sugar level. One of the health benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder is aiding regulating the blood sugar level. However, bittersweet chocolate though the amount of sugar is less but still regular consumption may still affect the spike of blood sugar. That’s why it is probably safe to be consumed by diabetic patients but consumed in moderate amount only.
- Lowering the Risk of Hypertension
There are some reasons why chocolate is good in lowering the risk of hypertension. As mentioned above, there are some studies that have proven the ability of chocolate in helping regulating the blood pressure. Furthermore, chocolate contains certain compound that could help relaxing the blood vessel, promoting healthy heart and preventing blood clot caused by the accumulation of cholesterol.
- Natural Skin Protection
The antioxidants contained in chocolate are excellent skin protection. Since chocolate is very tasty you could enjoy all its health benefits by consuming it regularly or you could enjoy all the health benefits of chocolate mask for external use. Moreover, the chocolate fragrant is very aromatic for your skin, so don’t hesitate to choose chocolate-based product for your skin.
Cautions of Bittersweet Chocolate
No matter how much you love all kinds of treats made from chocolate still there are some considerations you should take into account.
- First thing to remember, chocolate contains caffeine and additional sugar to some chocolate products is only strengthening it.
- Dark chocolate is excellent source of antioxidants but you should aware about the fact proven by some researches that dairy product could reduce the effectiveness.
- Don’t fall easily to the package of chocolate that claimed to be bittersweet chocolate type, you should always read the ingredient table to find out about the truth.
The unique fact about chocolate is most people considered the chocolate product commonly sold as chocolate bar is what chocolate really is. The fact is chocolate bar is more candy than chocolate because it is very sweet with additional of sugar, dairy product like milk and butter and more ingredients like lecithin and vanilla flavoring. Chocolate is actually something the one that is closely related to cocoa powder made from cocoa beans and with no additional ingredients.