Healthy chocolate? It sounds like a contradiction. However, more and more studies are revealing the benefits of chocolate, while nutritionists have also begun to recommend this food as part of a balanced diet. Read on below, as we list some of the research and tips on how you can use or consume chocolate as a delightful and healthy snack.
One of our healthy snack options for product development: Dark Chocolate Covered Physalis
Our consumption habits have been transformed. Today, people tend to look for quick, healthy and indulgent solutions so that they can continue their day-to-day activities, without having to take long lunch breaks or sacrifice their diet. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this. In fact, according to research conducted by Accenture , this global crisis has led to health becoming top priority for consumers; confirmed by 67% of respondents. .This trend is expected to result in the strengthening of health food markets, particularly in the US and Europe. In this context, snacks have become a popular solution to the problem. “The most recommended snacks are generally fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
These should be varied and natural, which is why chocolate is a great alternative,” explains Olga Lucía Pinzón, a nutritionist at the Hospital Universitario Mayor Méderi and professor at Universidad del Rosario, in Bogotá. Today, chocolate is no longer considered a pure indulgence or a simple treat. Indeed, our perception of chocolate has changed so much that we now consider it a superfood: A food whose nutritional properties can boost our health.
The benefits of chocolate as snack:
A Harvard School of Public Health study showed that flavonoids found in cocoa in high concentrations are key to the production of nitrogen oxide in the endothelium, the tissue that lines the blood vessels’ walls. The phytonutrients work as antioxidants, help improves blood flow, and reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, short term, the antioxidants increase insulin sensitivity, which means they may reduce the risk of diabetes in the future. By way of example, 100 grams of chocolate in our 65% cocoa products —Luker Origin Chocolates 1906 Dark Tumaco, Dark Huila, and Dark Santander— have the same number of antioxidants present in six glasses of red wine or three cups of green tea. Cocoa is also rich in fiber: a carbohydrate that is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive tract, the maintenance of the microbiota, and the feeling of being satiated. 100 grams of dark chocolate with 54% cocoa content —like our CasaLuker Cacao Sombra— is comparable to eating two oranges, or two tablespoons of oatmeal in this respect.
Another benefit of cocoa is that it is a remarkable source of minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium. A deficiency of the latter can cause tachycardia, muscle cramps, or involuntary muscle contraction. In this long list of benefits, cocoa also contains calcium. Important for healthy bones and teeth, whilst a deficiency can cause fatigue, lack of concentration, growth defects or brittle bones (osteoporosis). In 100 grams of 70% cocoa chocolate —CasaLuker Cacao Palenque or Luker 1906 Dark Huila— there is the same amount of potassium as in a banana and the same amount of calcium as in half a glass of milk. Luker Chocolate also offers its customers options that enhance and complement the health benefits of cocoa.This includes sugar-free options and substitute sweeteners, as well as chocolates made with vegetable-based milk substitutes.
Our chocolate portfolio
If we add cocoa’s nutritional qualities to its exquisite taste, it is an ideal combination in any healthy snack. Snacks —also called refreshments or appetizers—are generally divided into cereal bars and bite-sized snacks within the market. In the first category, chocolate can be used as an ingredient to coat cereal bars or included as chunks or chips. Luker Chocolate has a whole line of dark, plant-based, and no added sugar chocolates to use as an ingredient which you can check out here. In the second category, chocolate can be consumed as a bar or as a dragee, with different additions such as herbal combinations, spices or nuts. Providing a product that is enriched with antioxidants, protein, fiber, vitamin C, zinc and biotin. Luker Chocolate’s portfolio includes the following snack options that can be coated with chocolate: dried physalis, puffed quinoa, cocoa nibs (cluster and roasted cocoa beans), espresso coffee beans, and flavored jellies.
Pieces of cacao-covered nibs with dark chocolate, designed as a decorating ingredient in the confectionery industry.
While our services allow customers to choose the sensory profile of their products — cocoa concentration, origin, bars, dragees, ingredient additions, etc.— not all chocolates are suitable for every type of application. This is mainly due to their fluidity and viscosity (rheological characteristics). To produce snacks —as is the case here— specific conditions are required to achieve the ideal coating and covering, or the correct degree of fluidity for the coated dragees. These variables are taken into account by our production team to reach end consumers with versatile and high-quality products with a unique and differentiating sensory profile. Thus, with all the options and products offered by Luker Chocolate, our customers can adapt to a market where health and chocolate are no longer a contradiction. Instead, we now have a solution that is trending among consumers.