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EQUAL EXCHANGE: FAIRLY DARK CHOCOLATE
Dark chocolate is chock-full of the same flavonoids that make deep-colored fruits and vegetables so rich in antioxidants. It’s still a high-fat indulgence, but those flavonoids have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Sadly, the way most cocoa beans are harvested is a human rights scandal more likely to make your heart sink and your blood pressure rise. Much of the world’s cocoa comes from plantations in West Africa, particularly the Ivory Coast, where children, many under the age of ten, are forced to harvest the pesticide-laden crops. Conventional
cocoa cultivation practices deplete the soil and contaminate the water. So do your heart doubly good by choosing fair-trade, organic chocolate from Equal Exchange, which works with farmer cooperatives in the Caribbean and South America dedicated to sustainable, humane cocoa production.
Know what kinds of produce are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides: Download the Environmental Working Group’s pocket-size shopper’s guide to the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables at foodnews.org. The guide provides a list of the “Cleanest 12″ fruits and veggies, too.