Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolates for Your Gluten-Free Diet

If you have a sweet tooth, chocolate may have been one of the hardest things to give up. While gluten-free gummy bears may be plentiful, gluten-free chocolate can be a challenge to find. Natural chocolate is gluten-free, but you may be unpleasantly surprised by the taste of pure, unsweetened chocolate. To find the perfect combination of gluten-free and good taste, first you must understand how chocolate is made.

Chocolate comes from cacao, a pod found on the Theobroma cacao tree. Most of the world’s cacao is grown and harvested in Africa, then shipped to the States to be turned into chocolate in factories. Without the high amounts of additional ingredients traditionally added to cacao, gluten allergy sufferers are able to eat it without symptoms, but many have found this type of chocolate unpalatable.

So creating chocolate that gluten-free dieters can enjoy involves making natural chocolate sweet without adding egg, milk, and gluten. The creator may use soy, cocoa butter, and vanilla extract to enrich taste without endangering someone’s health.

The problem with gluten-free chocolate sellers is that if the candy is manufactured in the same place as regular chocolates, you may experience cross-contamination. So it’s important, when shopping for gluten-free foods of any kind, that you look for a company that provides assurance that you will not be exposed to gluten in your chocolate.

While chocolate is delicious, it’s not worth the danger it presents for those allergic to gluten. Thanks to gluten-free chocolate, you can now enjoy all the benefits of chocolate without dealing with annoying and even dangerous side effects.

And there are many benefits to eating chocolate. The cacao bean is considered a “super food,” meaning it is full of nutrients. Additionally, the cacao bean has been found to help depression, thanks to its high concentration of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. The latter ingredient is said to trigger responses in the brain that mimic the feelings someone has when falling in love.

While none of us would likely crunch on cacao beans, experts have confirmed that dark chocolate preserves many of the health benefits. When consumed in small amounts, they can be a healthy part of a person’s daily diet. Gluten-free chocolates are actually good for sufferers, contributing to overall mental well-being.

In addition to emotional well-being, gluten-free chocolates also harness the cacao beans’ power of fighting heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. Some experts say dark chocolate is a great substitute for a daily glass of red wine, recommended for those with cholesterol issues. Even though grapes don’t contain gluten, wheat paste is sometimes used to seal the oak barrels where wine is stored while it ages. Some question have also been raised about the presence of yeast proteins in wine.

Even if you’re on a gluten-free diet, you don’t have to give up sweets altogether. While sweets are consumed only in moderation in a healthy diet, occasional gluten-free candies and desserts are a great way to satisfy your craving without sacrificing your health.

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