What’s inside your Valentine’s Day chocolates? How about GMOs, trans fat, soy lecithin and corn syrup?
Fortunately, not all brands contain the bad stuff, and a little chocolate might even be good for you. Highlights: dark chocolate is rich in flavonols, which act as antioxidants, and may help reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, lower blood sugar levels, ease inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Cocoa beans also contain phenylethylamine, a compound that triggers your brain to release endorphins. Look for dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa for maximum health benefits.
The following picks are all lower in sugar and free from hydrogenated oils, soy lecithin and high fructose corn syrup:
- Gnosis chocolates are organic, vegan and kosher, and free of soy, gluten, and dairy. The company uses ethically sourced raw cacao, low-glycemic sweeteners, nutrient-dense superfoods and medicinal herbs sourced from the Amazon and the Himalayas. Bars are slightly soft and can taste almost coffee-like; for a more traditional taste with a punch of fruit flavor, try the Passion Truffle Collection, featuring aphrodisiacal herbs.
- Energy Truffles are vegan, gluten-free, organic and mostly raw. Flavors such as peanut butter, salted fudge, vanilla, coconut and berry may resemble traditional Valentine’s Day chocolates, but the dense, chewy treats are packed with nuts, seeds and superfoods including goji berries, maca and chia.
- ChocoVivo uses no milk powder, soy lecithin or additional cacao butter—and handcrafts its dark chocolate bars with traditional methods that the Mayans and Aztecs used more than 2,000 years ago. The wafer-like bars have a slightly crunchy texture and profoundly rich, complex chocolate flavor.
- Theo creates organic, fair trade, sustainable, non-GMO chocolates. For a smooth, traditional indulgence, try flavors such as Burnt Sugar, Lemon, Mint and Hazelnut Gianduja.
How sweet it is.