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For top tasting chocolate bars - go for the European bars like Dolfin or Cote D'Or (available at www.ed-foods.com/sweetshop.html), or look for bars in your local shop with a high cocoa rating (over 60% for sure - 70% is even better. Avoid chocolates with fillings (like truffles). They contain a tremendous amount of sugar (not good - but delicious), rather than a lot of chocolate (good and delicious!)
Believe it or not - adding 50 g (2 oz) of dark chocolate to your diet daily will help if you suffer from violent mood swings during PMS.
The problem can be a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels, and adding magnesium to your diet has been shown to increase progesterone levels, thus alleviating the problem.
Generally speaking, neither white chocolate nor milk chocolates are as 'good' for you as dark chocolate. The differences are in the % cocoa and the amount of sugar. Since dark chocolate has the most % cocoa and the least sugar and fat, by definition, dark chocolate is going to be better for you. That said - if you go for really high quality chocolates (like Dolfin, Cote D'Or, Godiva, or Cachet), in general you are getting less sugar and saturated fats - and more of the good stuff - cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.
Commercially produced Fondant is a commonly used filling in chocolate truffles. And that's a problem. Since it can be almost 100% sugar - it may taste good - but it's not going to have any of the chocolate good stuff - and that's not great. The best thing - ask! If you are buying hand made chocolate - the seller should know if they are made using commercial fondant. And in any case - the ingredient list is a great clue - if the chocolate isn't telling you the % cocoa butter - it is probably low (on average 20%) - and that's not what you want.
As long as you are talking chocolate with at least 60% chocolate solids - you are also talking about the largest natural source of Magnesium. And why Magnesium? It's great for you of course.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked with all kinds of aliments - from hypertension, to heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual tension (PMT or PMS).
(Course I get PMS just thinking about not having my daily chocolate!)
While chocolate starts the same way - with cocoa beans, the way it is processed - and more importantly - the amount of actual chocolate in a chocolate bar - varies enormously. And basically - the amount you pay is a pretty decent indicator of the quality of the chocolates. Common brands, like Hershey's and Nestle, may actually contain very little cocoa butter or chocolate liquor. Checking labels is of course critical.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|