Chocolate is one of those foods that invokes immediate feelings of guilt in some people. And while it’s still true that over-indulging on chocolate (or anything), every day isn’t healthy, there are plenty of reasons why you should enjoy a couple of ounces of dark chocolate a couple of times a week.
Side note: studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better in terms of health benefits. When choosing chocolate, grab the least processed chocolate with the highest percentage (65% and up), you can find.
Dark chocolate can lower your risk of heart disease and Type II diabetes. Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant group called flavonols. Flavonols help to protect your body from disease.
Dark chocolate protects your heart. Cocoa contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant group which studies have shown help to raise your good cholesterol levels and lower bad cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolate that is rich in flavonols can protect your skin from sun damage. Some flavonols absorb UV rays, some counteract UV ray-induced inflammation in the skin and still others can impact defense mechanisms in the skin itself. Don’t skip the sunblock, but know that a little dark chocolate can help you protect your skin naturally.
Dark chocolate will put you in a better mood. Eating dark chocolate stimulates endorphins – your brains happy hormones. On top of that, dark chocolate contains serotonin, a natural antidepressant.
Dark chocolate can help fight cancer. The antioxidants it contains fight free radicals which helps to protect your body from cancer. The higher the percentage of cocao, the bigger the benefit.
Dark chocolate will help you focus. The sugars in real, unprocessed dark chocolate gives you a natural boost in energy and focus. Further, chocolate stimulates blood flow. With increased blood flow comes increased oxygen to the brain which in turn increases focus and attention span.
Dark chocolate is full of vitamins and minerals. Fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin C, potassium…the list goes on. This list puts dark chocolate right up there with acai and blueberries when it comes to mineral and vitamin goodness.
Dark chocolate contains probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria, and they find a home in your healthy gut. Probiotics aid digestion, improve gut health and impact nutrient absorption of other foods.
Dark chocolate can make your skin look healthier and fresher. Dark chocolate stimulates blood flow to the skin which acts as a natural hydrator and keeps your glowing. Cacao contains omega-6s, which help to heal scars quickly and helps them fade away naturally.
You enjoy it, so you should eat it. With moderation in mind, if you love dark chocolate, don’t deprive yourself of it! Savor every bit and walk away with a smile on your face.
Now, I’m partial to dark chocolate covered strawberries but for some more creative chocolate ideas try these paleo Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups from SlimPalate.com, or Chicken Mole from Epicurious for something more savory.\
More (but not too many) healthy eating tips and fitness strategies (including workouts, recipes and more), straight to your inbox simply by subscribing below: