Bitter Chocolate: useful properties and contraindications.
Bitter chocolate gives mood, sharpens attention, pleases the taste, helps the heart and blood vessels, but with careless consumption can also cause harm.
- What bitter chocolate is made of
- What is the difference between dark chocolate and bitter chocolate
- Which Chocolate is Healthier: White, Milk or Bitter
- Composition and calories
- What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
- General health benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- When breastfeeding
- For Children
- Can I eat bitter chocolate while losing weight?
- Bitter Chocolate in Medicine
- Diabetes mellitus
- For Liver
- For coughs
- Bitter chocolate raises or lowers blood pressure
- Bitter Chocolate in Beauty Therapy
- For Face
- For hair
- Hazards and contraindications
- Symptoms of allergy to bitter chocolate
- How to choose and store
- What is the best dark chocolate in Russia?
- How to make bitter chocolate at home
- How much bitter chocolate can you eat per day?
- Can I Eat at Night?
- Can I Eat at Lent?
- Interesting facts about chocolate
What is bitter chocolate made of?
There are many versions of bitter chocolate recipes, but they all have one thing in common: quality butter, at least 55% cocoa products and some sweetener. The other ingredients change the taste from stingy-bitter to sugary-sweet, but do not affect its main properties. The higher the content of cocoa products, the richer the flavor. The quality of the products in the composition, various additives help to make an unlimited number of different versions of bitter chocolate.
What is the difference between dark chocolate and bitter chocolate
According to GOST, dark chocolate must contain 40 to 55% cocoa powder. Bitter chocolate contains a larger amount of cocoa powder - from 55% according to the GOST. For those who like the taste of bitter chocolate there are versions with up to 99% cocoa. More tart flavor and pronounced aroma distinguish it from dark chocolate.
Which chocolate is healthier: white, milk or bitter.
White chocolate contains no cocoa products, so it lacks the health benefits of cocoa beans. It certainly contains some health benefits, but much less than milk and bitter chocolate.
Milk chocolate contains cream and milk and less than 55% cocoa products, which makes it taste mild and pleasant. Bitter, on the other hand, due to its high cocoa powder content, has valuable properties for healing the body, supporting strength, and preventing a number of diseases. It is used in cosmetology, as well as in culinary recipes.
Composition and calories
The caloric value of dark chocolate is very high - about 500 kcal per 100 g of product. Carbohydrates are about 50 g, fat - 30-35 g, and protein - only 6 g, which makes it very nutritious and dangerous for those who limit the consumption of substances that stimulate weight gain.
The composition of dark chocolate contains phosphorus, calcium, iron (about 70% of the daily requirement of 100 g), magnesium (60% of the daily requirement), potassium and sodium, as well as vitamin E, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and PP.
What are the benefits of dark chocolate
The antioxidants in bitter chocolate help eliminate harmful substances from the body and slow the aging process.
The phosphorus in chocolate helps stimulate brain function. Normalization of blood pressure, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, reduction of C-reactive protein responsible for inflammatory processes - this is not a complete list of useful properties of bitter chocolate. It has been scientifically proven that the consumption of the treat helps to fight bacteria in the mouth. The use of decoction of cocoa beans to rinse teeth helps to eliminate plaque and prevent its formation.
Calcium, which is found in bitter chocolate, is essential for women to maintain healthy hair, bones and teeth.
European researchers have proven that women who regularly consume bitter chocolate have smoother, more moisturized and less irritated facial skin than those who do not get flavonoids from the treat on a regular basis. Thus, bitter chocolate is a natural remedy for fighting wrinkles and facial skin irritation.
Bitter chocolate is an indispensable aid for women who want to lose weight. It prevents overeating by inducing a feeling of satiety and also slows down the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.
Many men experience great mental and physical stress. Bitter chocolate helps processes in the brain, helps the body recover from stresses.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common problems faced by men in Russia. It has been proven that regular consumption of bitter chocolate reduces the risk of myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis. Flavonoids in the product strengthen the walls of blood vessels and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Since ancient times, chocolate has been known as an aphrodisiac, and many men appreciate it as a companion on romantic dates. Science has not proven the effect of bitter chocolate as a stimulant, but confirmed the production of serotonin after drinking it, which helps lift your mood.
The improvement of mood, getting into the body of iron, calcium and magnesium, strengthening blood vessels and many other useful properties make chocolate recommended product during pregnancy. There are several scientific papers that prove there is no negative impact on the health of the child by regular consumption of chocolate by mothers, and on the contrary, the beneficial properties are noted. Children born to women who consumed bitter chocolate during pregnancy were more cheerful and in good spirits more often than their peers whose mothers avoided the delicacy.
Studies by American scientists have linked regular consumption of 150 grams of chocolate by pregnant women to a decrease in lower abdominal pain, nausea, improved kidney and vascular function, and decreased uterine tone. Bitter chocolate in the results of this study reduced the risks of pre-eclampsia and miscarriage in late pregnancy.
There are a few caveats to the recommendations for eating chocolate during pregnancy. The high sugar and fat content may cause an expectant mother to gain excess weight, so the amount of chocolate should be limited. If a pregnant woman has urolithiasis, bitter chocolate is contraindicated.
Caffeine can provoke excessive excitability and insomnia, heartburn can also be an unpleasant consequence of excessive consumption of bitter chocolate during pregnancy. As with any other product, caution is important.
Due to the high content of substances that may cause allergic reactions, in the first months after birth and the period of adaptation of the child, it is recommended to use bitter chocolate very carefully. If the minimum amount does not affect the baby's health and does not provoke a reaction of the skin or digestive system, the mother is allowed to consume bitter chocolate. During the breastfeeding period, when consuming products with high caffeine content, you should also be aware of the possible reaction of the nervous system of the baby, which may become overexcited and have trouble sleeping.
Vitamins in the composition of bitter chocolate - PP, B1, B2 - contribute to the nervous system of children. Amino acids stimulate the brain, help with learning, and are also involved in the production of hormones responsible for a good mood. Antioxidants help strengthen the immune system.
Unlike many other sweets, dark chocolate does not stick to the teeth, it melts in the mouth and contains substances that protect against plaque and bacteria, which in turn reduces the risk of cavities.
With all its benefits for children, dark chocolate is not recommended for kids under the age of three. The caffeine in its composition can provoke insomnia, excessively increase heart rate. Therefore, at any age children are not recommended to eat it in the evening and before going to bed. Chocolate contains fats, which are difficult for children's digestive tract to digest. Also children, especially young children, are allergic to bitter chocolate. This passes as the body grows, but at a very young age, extreme caution should be exercised when giving chocolates to children.
Despite the possible risks and contraindications, it is recommended that bitter chocolate be given to a child as the first adult sweet. Numerous bars and candies, including so-called "children's" candies, have a small cocoa bean content, which makes them not as healthy as a bar of chocolate without additives and additional embellishments.
Is it safe to eat bitter chocolate when losing weight?
Bitter chocolate is a very caloric product. It is very rarely allowed as part of diets or a set of products in a healthy diet. However, the results of the work of European scientists proved its useful properties for those who struggle with excess weight. Participants in the study, who during the experiment consumed 30 g of bitter chocolate daily, lost about 3 kg more, as well as better muscle strength, lost more fat than those who did not eat chocolate. This discovery is explained by the fact that cocoa beans contain caffeine, which speeds up the metabolism, helps burn fat and assimilate proteins.
Therefore, it is possible and necessary to eat bitter chocolate when losing weight, but its amount should not exceed 20-30 grams per day. It is also important to eat chocolate without adding dried fruits, nuts and other additives that increase the caloric value of the product. It is best to use chocolate with hot peppers or citrus zest when fighting excess weight.
Bitter Chocolate in Medicine
For Diabetes Mellitus.
If there is no or minimal added sugar in bitter chocolate, it is possible to consume it for diabetes. Bitter chocolate made at home with a sugar substitute can be a great alternative to traditional desserts for those who are forbidden meals with sugar.
Important: The glycemic index of dark chocolate is 20-25 units.
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas. The main ingredients in chocolate - cocoa, sugar and oil - increase the burden on the pancreas, and if consumed in excess, even cause diabetes. In remission, you can eat bitter chocolate with caution 10-20 grams per day, but during the acute course of the disease from the delicacy is better to give up. It can cause deposits of oxalate salts in the gastrointestinal tract, which adversely affects the digestive organs.
Gastritis is a disease in which the mucous membrane of the stomach becomes inflamed, and as a result, bowel function also suffers. In this disease, patients experience stomach pain, nausea, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and other symptoms. Bitter chocolate is strictly forbidden during exacerbation of the disease, even a minimal amount can provoke an attack of severe pain, vomiting and worsen the condition.
Outside the exacerbation, bitter chocolate is also not recommended for gastritis, because it contains cocoa butter and caffeine. It provokes the production of hydrochloric acid, which irritates the mucous membrane of the stomach, and causes a worsening of the disease. In addition, bitter chocolate with high sugar content can further irritate the stomach and worsen the condition.
In general, in the absence of food allergies, patients with colitis can consume small amounts of bitter chocolate. Keep in mind, however, that the product may have a mild laxative effect. Some studies have described the association of exacerbations of Crohn's disease and nonspecific ulcerative colitis with the consumption of bitter chocolate, so the best choice is to limit consumption to a minimum amount.
For the liver
According to studies by European scientists, bitter chocolate prevents an increase in blood pressure in the liver vessels. Thus, including it in the diet of cirrhosis patients can help prevent dangerous complications from ruptured blood vessels and improve the condition.
Bitter chocolate is not a cure, but theobromine in its composition helps to fight coughs of various origins by dilating the blood vessels and clearing the bronchi.
Sucking on a piece of sweet chocolate helps to reduce throat irritation and cough when you have a cold.
Bitter chocolate raises or lowers blood pressure
Cocoa beans contain substances that help lower blood pressure. Thus, the use of bitter chocolate is possible and even recommended for hypertension. It should be remembered, however, that excessive consumption of sweet and high-calorie foods with high blood pressure is prohibited, so you should eat bitter chocolate in limited quantities.
Bitter chocolate in cosmetology
In modern cosmetology chocolate is used to make face, hair and body scrubs, masks and shampoos. Antioxidants in chocolate help rid the body of harmful substances, tighten the skin and improve its tone. Acids in chocolate help eliminate skin blemishes and heal minor injuries. Caffeine and tannin have a tightening effect and reduce swelling. Caffeine also stimulates the breakdown of fat and helps fight cellulite. Vitamins and trace elements in bitter chocolate strengthen the hair and nails.
In addition to traditional face and hair masks, chocolate body wraps, chocolate baths and massages are often used in cosmetology. These procedures help to make the body skin firm and smooth, reducing the signs of inflammation.
For the face
Before using facial masks, you should test for allergies: apply a small amount of chocolate to the skin, which is planned to be used for the procedure, and wait 12 hours. Chocolate can cause severe allergic reactions in the form of itching, redness and inflammation, which is the opposite of the expected effect.
For cosmetic masks, you should choose a bitter chocolate with at least 70% cocoa products. A single mask usually requires one bar of chocolate or 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder. To prepare the masks, melt the chocolate in a water bath, placing the vessel with a bar in a saucepan with boiling water, without covering it with a lid and without allowing it to boil.
The skin of the face must be cleansed beforehand, preferably with a scrub. The exposure time of the masks with chocolate should be limited to 15-20 minutes, after completing the procedure, the face should be thoroughly washed and moisturizing cream should be applied.
- Mask of bitter chocolate (quarter bar or 30g of cocoa powder), green coffee oil (10ml) and potato starch (8g) helps relieve symptoms of fatigue, improves blood circulation and complexion. To enhance the effect of such a mask is recommended contrast washing.
- A mask for oily and combination skin consists of 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of orange juice. This mask helps to reduce oily shine, narrows pores and prevents excessive sebum secretion.
- Mask with avocado (20 g of cocoa powder, 20 g of melted bitter chocolate and the pulp of one avocado) helps to smooth out wrinkles and smooth out scars. Avocado for such a mask should be chopped in a blender, and the skin should be prepared beforehand - steamed to open the pores. Wash off such a mask should always be warm water, you can add coconut oil.
- For dry and dehydrated skin is perfect mask of chocolate (20 g), olive oil (10 ml.) and calendula flowers. The flowers should be ground in a mortar or blender, the ingredients are mixed and applied to pre-swarmed skin.
Masks with chocolate are excellent for weakened hair with split ends, and also help to reduce the appearance of oily shine on the locs. Apply bitter chocolate masks at least twice a week to achieve the effect of smooth, supple and shiny hair. As for facial masks, you should choose chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. The chocolate should be melted in a water bath to avoid losing its beneficial properties when it boils over.
Remember that chocolate in the mask colors the hair, so it is not recommended to apply it to blond hair. When using masks for hair with chocolate, you should conduct a sensitivity test to make sure that there are no allergies. The exposure time of hair masks with chocolate should be at least 40 minutes and no more than an hour and a half. Thorough rinsing with a shampoo that suits the individual characteristics of hair, with the application of balm will help to consolidate the effect.
One of the easiest masks for hair consists of a third of a bar of melted chocolate, one banana, 2 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of milk. Grind the mixture in a blender first, without adding milk. If it comes out thick, add milk. Yogurt or sour cream can be used instead of milk. The resulting mixture is applied to the hair, then cover the head with a towel or a bag, so that the heat enhances the effect of beneficial substances. Application of such a mask helps to give your hair shine and strengthen it.
Another variation of the mask consists of 100 grams of melted chocolate, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and two egg yolks. The mixture should be left on your hair for an hour and a half or two hours, and then wash it off with shampoo. Such a mask is great for dry and damaged hair.
Mask, which helps to prevent hair loss and split ends consists of half a bar of chocolate, two capsules of liquid vitamin E, two tablespoons of milk and three tablespoons of olive oil. The composition should be applied to the scalp and massaged thoroughly for a few minutes. Cover the mask and leave it for an hour. Olive oil can be replaced by jojoba oil and wheat germ.
Harms and contraindications
In general, bitter chocolate has no contraindications. However, it should be used with caution in a number of diseases. For example, it should be remembered that it causes a vasoconstrictor effect, which can stimulate or intensify headache attacks. Because of its high fat and carbohydrate content, eating more than 25 g of bitter chocolate per day can lead to weight gain.
Abusing bitter chocolate can cause insomnia or an allergic reaction. One of the main causes of allergy to chocolate is that it contains particles of chitin, an insect carapace, which are incorporated in the cocoa mass during production. Lactose in milk, which may be added to the chocolate, may also provoke allergies. Nuts, milk, and other additives can be additional causes of allergies.
Symptoms of an allergy to bitter chocolate
The first signs may appear within 30 minutes of eating the chocolate, but it may take up to 8 hours before the allergy manifests itself. The most obvious manifestations are skin rashes, which can start on the face, neck, chest, and move to other areas of the body. If there is no timely reaction, the rash can progress to urticaria, which resembles blisters from burns, and even dermatitis. In addition, severe allergies can lead to lacrimation, swelling, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, and heartburn.
How to choose and store
The composition of bitter chocolate must contain at least 55% cocoa products. Vegetable oils, particularly palm oil, should not be included. The bar must not be dry, brittle, or covered with a white coating. The chocolate should melt in your mouth.
When choosing chocolate in the store, pay attention to its expiration date, the packaging must be intact, without damage or stains. The bar must be intact and smooth.
The best flavor preservation is achieved when stored at room temperature and normal humidity. The normal shelf life of unadulterated bitter chocolate is less than one year, most often 6-12 months. Homemade bitter chocolate should be consumed within two weeks of preparation. To keep chocolate for a long time, it is allowed to keep it in the freezer, and the packaging should not be broken.
If the chocolate is exposed to sunlight or kept at temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius, it will melt, and this can cause unpleasant bitterness to the taste.
When chocolate is stored in the refrigerator, a white coating appears on the bar, which is a result of water evaporating out of it.
Chocolate is very good at absorbing odors, so it should not be stored near spices or where food is cooked.
What is the best dark chocolate in Russia
All ratings of bitter chocolate take into account its composition, appearance, and taste. It is believed that the best samples should not contain vegetable oils, cocoa powder, additives to increase shelf life and flavorings.
One of the best 2019 samples is the Korkunov bitter chocolate, which contains about 70% cocoa products and no flavorings or preservatives. It has a dark brown color, breaks evenly, and tastes neither too sweet nor too bitter.
AlpenGoldBitter can also be classified as a quality chocolate, but it has a flavoring, and the bar does not have too smooth and dense consistency. The taste of the chocolate is classic, it melts nicely in the mouth.
Red October" bitter chocolate contains 55% of cocoa products, is almost black in color and has a rich cocoa flavor. The bar is glossy and dense. O'ZeraBitter chocolate (77.7% cocoa products), Victory (72%) also have a pleasant taste and aroma.
How to make bitter chocolate at home
Making bitter chocolate with your own hands is not difficult, you will need a few ingredients available at any store near the house, and a little time.
The simplest recipe:
- 80 g of cocoa butter to melt. To do this, boil water in a large saucepan, and then place a smaller bowl with the butter in it. Do not cover the butter while it is melting, to prevent condensation from getting into the product.
- Add 130g of cocoa powder to the melted butter and leave the mixture on a low heat.
- After a few minutes, add the sugar or honey to the cocoa mass. It is better not to make the chocolate too sweet, so that it is not too caloric and has no sugary taste.
- Stir the mixture of butter, cocoa powder and sugar over a low heat until the mixture is completely homogeneous.
- When all the ingredients have dissolved, pour the mixture into molds and leave to cool for a few hours. Then place the molds in the cold to allow the chocolate to harden.
When planning to make bitter chocolate at home, remember that the quality of the butter and cocoa powder determines the taste of the resulting product. The butter must be at least 82.5% fat, with no added vegetable fats. It is better to choose cocoa powder without sugar and other additives.
If you can not buy high-quality cocoa butter, you can use regular butter. In this case, the cocoa powder - butter ratio will change, and more powder should be added. The oil to powder ratio should be approximately 1:2, for example, 50 g of oil to 100 g of cocoa powder.
If desired, various additional ingredients can be added to the butter and cocoa powder mixture while melting: vanillin, coconut flakes, candied fruits, nuts or raisins. In addition to sweet versions of the bitter chocolate recipe, there is also a way of making it with a minimum amount of sugar and a few grams of hot pepper. The hot spice accentuates the bitterness of the cocoa, while the sugar and oil tinge it.
In industrial production, grated cocoa beans are used to make bitter chocolate. The color of ground chocolate will be darker than that of cocoa powder, and the taste is richer. However, the cost of such homemade chocolate will be much higher compared to a product made of cocoa powder.
How much bitter chocolate can be eaten per day
The daily norm of bitter chocolate depends on the state of the body, the presence of chronic and acute diseases, immunity status and age. On average, nutritionists recommend healthy adults to limit the consumption of chocolate in the range of 25-30 grams per day (a quarter of a bar).
Can I eat at night
Breakfast is the best time to saturate the body with caffeine and other nutrients from chocolate. If you eat bitter chocolate before going to bed, it can have a stimulating effect on the nervous system, preventing you from falling asleep quickly and getting a good night's rest.
Can I Eat During Lent?
It is believed that since dark chocolate mostly consists of vegetable products, it is not forbidden to eat them during Lent. Chocolate with a high content of animal fats, oil, is not recommended to eat in Lent.
Interesting facts about chocolate
- The first people to use cocoa beans were the Indians of South America. They not only made drinks from it, but also decorated places of worship with them. The hot peppers and other spices made the chocolate of ancient times unlike what people are used to now. The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec language "chocolatl" and translates to bitter water.
- Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and with it the benefits and taste of the cocoa bean. The travelers who followed Columbus adopted several recipes and shared them with Europeans. Since then, chocolate and the secrets of its preparation have become as valuable in Europe as jewelry.
- The preparation of raw materials for bitter chocolate is a time consuming process. The trees on which cocoa beans grow produce two harvests a year. After the beans are harvested, they are peeled of their shells and dried. The beans are then roasted and ground into fine particles, from which grated cocoa is made. It is then separated in a special press into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
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