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If you feel tempted to a cup of hot cocoa or a bite of rich, silky dark chocolate, don’t fret! There are a few pieces of evidence that your compelling chocolate carving can be within reason. While there are certain negative health benefits associated with chocolate, you also shouldn’t deprive yourself entirely if you love it. Having a small treat every day can actually help you!
Here are a few good excuses to sneak a bite!
Chocolate May Benefit Your Heart
Cacao beans (from which chocolates are produced) are high in a type of antioxidant called flavonols. It is believed that flavanols may play a role in heart health, and may also have a positive effect on blood pressure, heart function, and cholesterol. But keep in mind that not all chocolates contain flavanols because certain processing that removes bitterness may also remove the antioxidant content.
Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao is likely your best choice if you’re looking to add flavanols to your diet.
Chocolate May Have Positive Effect On Your Brain and Mood
Several studies are looking into the possible way how eating chocolate or cocoa may affect mood and brain function. More research is needed to understand how exactly chocolate affects the brain, but so far studies suggest that regular chocolate consumption may help with cognitive function. So, just go ahead and indulge when you need some but just don’t go overboard, as that could rise your blood sugar and crash. And surely that’s not what you need if you’re looking to boost your mood and brain.
Three Tips For Making The Healthiest Chocolate Choice!
#1. When you are choosing cocoa powder, avoid Dutch-processed cocoa. Because this process removes many of the flavanols from the cocoa powder, lessening its potential health benefits.
#2. Choose dark chocolate with a higher cacao content, rather than milk chocolate or dark chocolate with a low cacao content.
#3. Remember that chocolate still delivers added sugars and extra calories, so be mindful of that if you’re watching your weight.
Make Your Own Chocolate!
Combine 1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon sugar in a mug. Swirl in 1 cup of steaming low-fat milk. Spice it up with one of these add-ins:
- Ground cardamom and vanilla
- Orange peel and ground cloves
- Chili powder and cinnamon