Eating Healthy Couldn’t Be Sweeter!
The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate are many and it gets my vote for the best tasting healthiest treat on the face of this earth. Actually, I could of titled this article “The Confessions of a Chocolate Addict” because I LOVE dark chocolate, anything from 60% to 85% cocoa content tastes wonderful and it doesn’t hurt that it’s considered a healthier treat alternative.
Now don’t go running out and buy up all the candy bars on the shelf at the nearest gas station. Eating those won’t provide you the same benefits, see those candy bars are majority milk chocolate or white chocolate and there is a big difference. They don’t provide the same type of benefits of dark chocolate because the content of cocoa in them is far less and as the chocolate is processed to give that sweeter taste it also looses much of health benefiting flavanols, more about these in a moment.
Here are our suggestions for choosing dark chocolate with the best combination of taste and health benefits:
- Go with dark chocolate that is at least 60% or greater in cocoa content.. the higher the better.
- Avoid the dark chocolates with caramel, nougat and other fillings in them. The trade off is more taste for added sugar and fat. Go with the pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavors.. these types will provide you with most overall benefits.
- Eat in moderation.. even though dark chocolate is good for you it is still a fairly high fat, high calorie food. Now a portion of the fat is made up of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat or good fat, but not all of it. The average bar of dark chocolate consists of between 400 – 500 calories, so it wouldn’t be wise to start scarfing down bars every day. Rather a half a bar or a full bar every couple of days should do you fine while helping you to quail that taste for the more unhealthier treats.
Now that you know which dark chocolate to choose and how to eat it, lets tell you why it’s ok too….
Most people don’t know this but chocolate comes from a plant and because of this, it has in it many of the same health benefits that you will find in dark vegetables. The first being Flavonoids which in plants helps protect them from toxins in the environment as well as repair any damage. These flavonoids can be found in fruits, vegetable and dark chocolate. This reparative benefit is also known by the name antioxidant.
Antioxidants as far as we can tell help our body’s cells defend themselves against free radicals, which arereactive and unstable molecules that can affect the body negatively during normal bodily functions or external influences. These free radicals help to speed up the aging process and can assist in bringing about illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
And this leads us too the last beneficial nutrient found in dark chocolate and that’s Flavanols. Flavanols are the primary type of flavonoid found in cocoa beans. Not only do the flavanols have antioxidants in them but they also have been shown to strengthen your vascular system by improving the flow of blood to your brain and heart as well as helping to lower your blood pressure.
There you go! You’ve been given a hall pass to be good and bad all at the same time by making dark chocolate the alternative too some of your unhealthier treats. Eating Healthy Couldn’t Be Sweeter!