The question of whether chocolate is dairy free or not depends on the type of chocolate one is buying. Obviously, milk chocolate is not dairy-free, as it contains milk and usually other dairy ingredients as well. High-quality dark chocolates are the best places to look to satisfy your lactose-free chocolate cravings, as they should only contain cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, lecithin (usually soy-based), and sugar.
While dark chocolate is considered to have more of a bitter flavor compared to milk chocolate, it's still a great dessert. It might not satiate a sweet tooth the way milk chocolate will, but it's still a lovely decadent flavor. It pairs well with many fruits and other flavors. It's truly a versatile dessert.
Health Benefits of Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate
While dark chocolate may be full of sugar and should be consumed in moderation it's a good option for those times when you just need something sweet. Dark chocolate isn't just great for those who can't consume milk, it's a delicious treat with many health benefits. It's packed full of antioxidants and nutrients like zinc, magnesium, copper and even potassium which help the body fight cancer.
Dark chocolate has actually been shown to have more antioxidants than some berries. Many dark chocolates also contain caffeine which can put an extra pep in your step.
Some studies have shown that consuming small amounts of dark chocolate can help improve your blood flow and help to lower blood pressure.
Which sounds like a great reason to have a treat to us! However, chocolate alone should of course never be used as a treatment for high blood pressure. Chocolate has also been linked to improving overall cardiovascular health. Eating chocolate lowers the risk of developing calcified plaque in arteries. Flavonoids in the chocolate also boost the blood supply to the skin making it healthier looking as well. It also boosts skin hydration which improves its look and health while protecting it from the harmful effects of the sun.
Anyone trying to make sense of their cholesterol levels will be happy to know that a bit of dark chocolate may aid in lowering LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. The sweet treat has also been shown in studies to raise HDL levels.
It's a well-known fact that chocolate causes your brain to produce serotonin, the same chemical that causes us to feel love. So dark chocolate does, in fact, have some slight mood-boosting capabilities. Its slight anti-depressive qualities might be why we crave it when we're having a bad day.
Improves Brain Function
Dark chocolate with its circulation-boosting abilities also helps boost your brain functioning.
By increasing blood flow to the brain, some think it aids the brain in thinking faster. Studies showed that consuming chocolate helped with verbal skills in some.