A lot of people love chocolate and that is understandable. That sweet flavor, sometimes with a mix of bitterness, is so good it can be addicting.
While eating chocolate can be an enjoyable experience, you can have too much of a good thing. Consuming chocolate in excessive amounts can negatively affect your health due to its high sugar and fat content. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut out the chocolate altogether.
Here are some benefits of chocolate as well as some healthier chocolate choices:
Why should you eat chocolate?
Cardiovascular health – According to a study, eating chocolate in moderation can help promote heart and cardiovascular health. Chocolate contains cocoa flavanols and plant sterols that can reduce bad cholesterol in the body, resulting in better blood flow and lower blood pressure levels. Want to boost your cardiovascular health even more? Try a chocolate almond butter spread on your toast or even straight from the jar! Almonds have also been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, making this a perfect heart-healthy combination.
Cognitive function – Consuming chocolate daily is good for your brain. In one study, elderly people who drank two cups of hot chocolate per day were found to show improved memory functions. Another study has shown that bean chocolate, also known as cocoa, contains compounds that protect the nerve pathways and help in slowing down Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.
Stroke – In Canada, a study found that people who consumed chocolate in moderate amounts regularly had a 22% less likelihood of suffering from a stroke than people who did not. In addition, people who had a stroke but ate chocolate regularly had a 46% less chance of dying as a result.
If chocolate is so good for you, why is it considered a treat?
While many of the health benefits of chocolate come from the cocoa bean, chocolate itself is often processed with lots of sugar and additional products that make it more of a dessert than a superfood. Because it is so delicious, it is easy to overindulge, putting you at risk for diabetes, unwanted weight gain, tooth decay and skin problems.
Here are some ways you can enjoy chocolate in a more healthful way so that you can reap the benefits of this amazing product:
The darker the better- Most grocery store milk chocolate is packed with sugar, additives and high calorie add-ons. Opt for 60% dark chocolate or more to take full advantage of the benefits without all the sugar.
Start from scratch- While it might seem more convenient to buy a chocolate cake on your way home from work, baking one from scratch allows you to control the quality of the chocolate and the other ingredients that go into this decadent dessert. Be sure to use high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder or 100% dark baking chocolate.
Go raw- If you are someone who likes to eat a bit of chocolate everyday, try incorporating raw versions into your diet. Treats such as chocolate almond butter cups, cacao nibs and raw chocolate trail mix are great ways to get your daily dose of chocolate while prioritizing your health.
User :- Oliver James