Chocolate therapy: New healthier chocolates

Chocolate — that’s healthy? Well, dark chocolate has long been renowned for its antioxidant-rich health benefits, and its popularity is driving chocolatiers to create even more healthy chocolate confectioneries. Many companies are not only highlighting the natural antioxidant benefits of chocolate, they are also fortifying chocolate with extra ingredients containing vitamins, minerals and superfruits.

Chocolate Therapy

These new “functional” ingredients are claimed to have health, beauty and mood-enhancing properties — therefore resulting in “healthy” chocolate. Next time you are in need of a little chocolate therapy, give these new healthier chocolates a try!

Chocolate is hot!

According to Datamonitor’s Productscan, dark chocolate — which is considered a superfood (and a healthy chocolate) — led the confectionery market in 2007, with sales increasing 50 percent from the year before.

Sales of premium chocolate grew more than 30 percent this year alone, following three years of double-digit growth. There is no doubt that chocolate is a top pick when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth — especially since you can feel good about eating it!

Companies that make chocolate have responded, and launched a whopping 1800 new chocolate products in 2007. Here are some of the healthier chocolates to look for.

New healthy chocolate choices

Dark chocolateNew Tree Chocolates: The New Tree luscious line of chocolate bars — including Tranquility (made with French lavender and lime blossom extract to calm you down), Cocoon (infused with warm, wonderful cinnamon and soy isoflavones, which are known to help with hormonal balance and calcium retention) and Sexy (with ginger and guarana, which are said to be natural aphrodisiacs) — have sweet-tooth satisfying health (and sex) appeal.

Seattle Chocolates Chick Chocolates: Just the chocolate a woman needs! Seattle Chocolates launched Survivor Chick, a preservative-free mix of white chocolate with raspberries wrapped in decadent dark chocolate. Other irresistible (but healthy) chocolates include calcium-fortified Strong Chick, Nutty Chick (made with heart-healthy almonds and toffee), and Extreme Chick (an extremely dark chocolate bar studded with bits of cacao bean).

CocoaVia Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins: Full of heart-healthy flavanols and plant sterols, these chewy little chocolate covered treats help reduce cholesterol and satisfy your super sweet tooth. MasterFoods also makes dark chocolate and milk chocolate bars, as well as a chocolate drink — the descriptively named “Rich Chocolate Indulgence Beverage.”

Chocolate Therapy: Made by Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg, Chocolate Therapy Focus is formulated with schisandra berry, a berry native to Asia that has been used medicinally to treat insomnia among other conditions, and guava, for a nice balanced fruit and chocolate flavor. Other Chocolate Therapy choices are Wellness (made with green tea and ginger) and Drive (made with yerba mate).

Sunspire Chocolates: For the eco-conscious chocolate lover, Sunspire has a wide array of chocolates, from antioxidant rich dark chocolate covered dried fruits (like blueberries, cranberries and coffee beans) to baking chips and chocolate bars. Sunspire produces a line of organics and all their chocolates contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Sunspire also uses natural sweeteners — such as malted grains, organic sugar, dried cane juice and molasses.

O’CocosO’coco’s Organic Baked Chocolate Crisps: Encouraging you to do chocolate a new way, O’Coco’s has created these “thincredible” cocoa crisps to sate your chocolate craving without oversating your calorie quota. Crisps come in cinnamon, mocha and original flavors and are made of the finest organic ingredients like dark cocoa powder, real vanilla, and evaporated cane juice. Unlike regular chocolate, these crisps are low in fat and contain nothing artificial.

You can feel good about giving in to your chocolate cravings, of course — but be sure to practice moderation. Chocolates may promote your health… but they’re still not calorie- or fat-free.

And if you want to practice moderation with other confections, check out the Top 6 trends for your sweet tooth