Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate has significant health benefits in moderation: Now those pretty decorated boxes of cream filled chocolates don’t count… Darker is better! Try to limit your dark chocolate treat to one ounce per day.
So what are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
- Contains high levels of steric acid, essential minerals including magnesium, copper, potassium, manganese and flavonoids.
- Flavonoids are natural antioxidants, that neutralize free radicals, hinder platelet aggregation and improve blood vessel flexibility, and therefore help to prevent hardening of the arteries.
- Minimally processed dark chocolate contains the most flavonoids per gram than any other food including green tea, red wine, strawberries and blueberries.
- Has a lower glycemic index than regular chocolate. Go for 70% cocoa or greater for lowest glycemic index.
- Lowers your blood pressure: studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate daily can reduce blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.
- Lowers cholesterol: dark chocolate has been shown to decrease LDL’s (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10%.
- Stimulates endorphin production: which gives feelings of pleasure.
- Contains serotonin: acts as an antidepressant.
- Balance the calories: one bar of dark chocolate has 400 calories. Eat half and cut out 200 calories else- where (from sweets or junk).
- Skip the nougat! You should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavorings. Avoid caramel, nougat or other fillings that add extra sugar and fat.
- Avoid washing your dark chocolate down with milk. Milk prevents the antioxidants from being absorbed or used by your body.
- Chocolate is one of the most heavily sprayed crops! Buy organic dark chocolate when you can.