As a chocolate lover, I get very excited when reports and studies come out commenting on how chocolate can improve one’s life. Anything to make eating chocolate part of a healthy lifestyle I give two giant thumbs up to. A Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition came to the conclusion that Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate was linked to heart health benefits. More specifically, they found that “consuming Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate (75g) as well as Hershey’s Natural Cocoa (22g) lowered blood pressure and improved endothelial function in 45 participants 2 hours after consumption” which suggests that “[d]ark chocolate has a positive impact on blood pressure and blood vessel function.” A more recent study published in the September 2009 issue of Journal of Internal Medicine by the Department of Public Health Sciences and other medical centers in Sweden found that “[c]hocolate consumption had a strong inverse association with cardiac mortality,” meaning that doses of chocolate may actually increase your survival rate after a heart attack.
With that study firmly in my mental note arsenal, I brought an array of chocolates to my Sample Sunday party for my fellow testers and I to eat and review Hershey®’s Extra Dark Dark Chocolate and Hershey®’s Special Dark® Dark Chocolate.
Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate is made of 60% cacao and is the only chocolate to be awarded health and fitness expert Bob Greene’s Best Life Treat Seal of Approval. It is available in several flavors including Pure Dark Chocolate, Pure Dark Chocolate with Cranberries, Blueberries and Almonds, and Pure Dark Chocolate infused with Raspberry flavor.
I love that the Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate comes in bar or square form. The tasting squares are individually packaged, which makes it easy to eat just one (or three squares since that equals just 140 calories) and to take them on the go. We tried the Pure Dark Chocolate and Pure Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate Flavored Pieces Squares. As with the bars, the Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate Square taste simply like good, pure chocolate. I was really interested in the squares with pomegranate flavored pieces because I’d never tasted that combination of flavors before. I found that the pomegranate added another layer of sweetness to the chocolate that hinted at berry.
Next up were the Hershey®’s Nuggets Special Dark® with Almonds. My only complaint with the nuggets was that I would’ve loved to have more almonds in the nugget. Although I’m not even sure if that’s logistically possible because each nugget is just wide enough to accommodate the width of an almond. Most of the nuggets had at least two whole almonds inside. One of my fellow testers seemed to develop a strange addiction to the Hershey®’s Nuggets Special Dark® with Almonds since I noticed she kept asking if she could have “one more” and when I told her she could take some chocolate back home with her, half of the bag mysteriously disappeared – poof!
Finally we tested the Hershey®’s Special Dark® Dark Chocolate and the Hershey®’s Special Dark® Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bar with Almonds bars. If you are a milk chocolate lover, this would be a good transition chocolate for you to eat while you learn to appreciate the pure chocolate flavor of dark chocolate. It’s a more powerful chocolate flavor than milk chocolate, but is slightly sweeter than pure dark chocolate. I found myself keeping a bar in my pocket and breaking off pieces through the day for little bursts of energy. As with the nuggets, I wish the Hershey®’s Special Dark® Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bar with Almonds bar had more almonds, but there were still enough almonds in the bar to satisfy me.
Hershey®’s Extra Dark and Hershey®’s Special Dark® chocolates come in many shapes, sizes and flavors and are a great chocolately option to eat to see if you can attain some of the reported benefits from chocolate. I’m certainly not saying that we should be eating Hershey®’s Extra Dark chocolate like popcorn. (No matter how much we might want to.) I think that moderation is the key (as with many other foods) to receiving the benefits that chocolate has to offer. A word of caution, however. Make sure you have a glass of milk on-hand when you eat any of these chocolates. Since dark chocolate has a higher percent of pure cacoa, the chocolate flavor is more intense and lingers in your mouth longer than lower percent chocolates.
If you would like to add Hershey®’s Extra Dark chocolate and Hershey®’s Special Dark® chocolate to your heart healthy diet, you can find them available whever candy is sold. For more information on Hershey’s, you can visit their website at www.hersheys.com. To learn about ways to make hershey’s part of the Best Life Diet, you can visit www.hersheys.com/thebestlife.
In honor of Heart Health Month and National Chocolate Month, we are happy to host the delicious What’s Cooking at DD Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Giveaway!
One winner will receive: 2 boxes of Hershey®’s Special Dark® Dark Chocolate Bars (36 bars in each box), 2 bags of Hershey®’s Nuggets Special Dark® with Almonds; 1 bar/pouch combo of Hershey®’s Extra Dark Dark Chocolate in one of the following flavors: Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate; Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate with Cranberries, Blueberries and Almonds; Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate infused with Raspberry Flavor; Hershey®’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate flavor.
Make sure you follow the directions carefully. All giveaway entries should use the ENTRY FORM. You only need to fill out the ENTRY FORM once, unless you decide to additional earn extra entries at a later time. You can earn up to 12 entries into the WCatDD Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Giveaway by doing one, some or all of the following:
Ways to Earn Entries:
Make sure you use this ENTRY FORM for your entries to count!
- THIS ENTRY IS REQUIRED FOR ALL OTHER ENTRIES TO BE VALID (+1): Visit www.hersheys.com and tell me which Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate or Hershey’s Extra Dark Dark Chocolate you’d like to eat. (Make sure your product choice is from one of those two product families.)
- Post this giveaway on your blog (+3)
- Tweet about this giveaway using the “retweet” link at the top of this post or by tweeting “Celebrating Hearth Health Month and National Chocolate Month with the @WCatDD Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Giveaway! http://bit.ly/aOutQ0” (+1)
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One winner will be selected at random for this prize.
Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST, March 3, 2010.
Visit our Giveaway Rules page for general giveaway rules that also apply to this giveaway.
Disclaimer: This post consists of my (and/or fellow tester) opinions only. Your experiences may be different. No compensation was given for this review/giveaway. I did receive free Hershey’s chocolate products from the manufacturer or their representing PR agency to use and test for the purposes of this review. This did not affect the outcome of this review. I am not a medical professional and make no guarantee for the nutritional information or health benefits in this post. Please verify all health claims directly with Hershey’s.