Chocolate: Top 5 Healthiest (and Ethical) Brands on the Market
Author: Noelle Khan
If you’re like us, you might suffer from a slight – okay, major sweet tooth. When it comes to ending your last meal of the day on a “sweet” note, why not curb your cravings with a square (or two) of chocolate? We’re not referring to milk chocolate bars packed with nasty additives, artificial sweeteners, and inflammatory oils like vegetable oil. We love munching on the dark variety instead. In case you didn’t know, high-quality dark chocolate is fragrant, nutty, fruity and chock-full of important minerals – think iron and magnesium, and cell protecting antioxidants known as flavanols.
Not only will your taste buds thank you for splurging on a decadent bar of rich dark chocolate, your heart will to. For one, the minerals in dark chocolate may play an important role in reducing your risk of developing high blood pressure. One Swedish study even found that women who consumed moderate amounts of chocolate over the course of five years had a lower risk of developing heart failure when compared to women who did not “indulge” on a daily basis. While a daily nibble or two of dark chocolate promises a happier heart, according to Harvard Health, it may also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can thank the high flavanol content in dark chocolate for improving your insulin sensitivity.
Ready to stock your healthy snack shelf with some dark chocolate? If you’re a West Coast native, we recommend heading to Erewhon Market – a California based grocer that celebrates innovative and nutrient-rich products. Not only will you find our Dalci brownies and blondies at Erewhon, they also stock 5 of our favorite, go-to healthy chocolate brands.
Keep on scrolling if you’re ready to swap a high sugar, inflammatory bar for a heart-friendly chocolatey treat that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
- Hu Paleo/Vegan Dark Chocolate: Ever wonder why the chocolate chunks baked into in our Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Blondies are so addicting? Secrets out. Instead of opting for regular milk chocolate chips, we decided to bake Hu’s certified organic Gems into our blondies. Hu understands the importance of steering clear from nasty additives like refined sugar and palm oil and making room on your plate for feel-good ingredients instead. When we’re not baking with Hu Gems you can bet that we’re snacking on our favorite bars – think smooth dark chocolate sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar and stuffed with creamy hazelnut butter.
- Raaka Chocolate: Not only are these vegan, Brooklyn based bars finger licking good, they’re also transparently sourced, certified organic, and free of common allergens like gluten, soy and dairy. To capture the fruity and bold flavor of cacao in every bar, Raaka uses unroasted beans collected from smallholder farmers across South America and East Africa. With a high cacao percentage of 75 percent, the Maple & Nibs bar is high in flavanols, rich in maple flavor and crisp in texture. If you love sipping on green tea lattes, we recommend ending your night with Raaka’s Green Tea Crunch bar –a delectable treat that’s toasty and packed with crisp quinoa.
- Endangered Species Chocolate (EPC): With over 28 flavors to choose from, the one thing you be certain of is the high-quality content of each bar. Whether you choose to bite off a chunk of EPC’s bittersweet espresso bar or salted almond and creamy oat milk bar, you can feel good about your dark chocolate indulgence. That’s because your purchase of a Fair Trade EPC bar equals improved working conditions and wages for smallholder farmers in West Africa and the preservation of endangered species.
- Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Bars: Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to the cocoa industry. A global demand in chocolate has forced farmers and their children to sometimes work in dangerous conditions without any compensation for their labor. As a conscious consumer with a sweet tooth, you can feel good about picking up a Fair Trade chocolate bar from Equal Exchange. Not only are there vegan bars a better option for your gut, they’re also better for the planet and the economic and social goals of small-scale farmers. To reap all the great benefits of cocoa, we love to sink our teeth into Equal Exchange’s Extreme Dark Chocolate bar.
- Beauty Bar Chocolate: Who knew dark chocolate could help you glow from within? Free of acne triggering ingredients like sugar, dairy, and soy, each Beauty Bar is crafted with high-quality, skin enhancing and mood boosting ingredients like ethically sourced cacao, non-GMO monk fruit, plant-based collagen, superfoods, and adaptogens. The plant-based collagen – think pearl powder and bamboo silica, and superfoods like glowing green spirulina, can do wonders for your complexion, nails and hair. For a chocolate treat with a fresh twist, we recommend treating your skin and taste buds to the Glowing Mint flavor.