Chocolate has been put into so many foods and mixed with so many other ingredients to make sweet desserts that somehow it got a reputation for being too much of an indulgent treat than a regular, healthy food. Today a huge number of studies are proving that the cocoa in chocolate should be a health-boosting part of your diet. You need to start eating more chocolate now, and let us tell you why.
Cocoa is the Key
Cocoa is made from cocoa beans, and it is the chief ingredient that will benefit your health when you eat dark chocolate. Cocoa is packed with flavonol antioxidants, an important component to every diet. Flavonol is found in many different vegetables and fruit: they are what give plants their different colors. As antioxidants, flavonoids stop the break down of cells in the body, increasing your health and fighting aging and disease. Studies have even shown that a diet with abundant flavonoids will help fight lung cancer. Yes, chocolate is a cancer fighter.
Body and Mind Benefits
Ever wonder why people feel like eating chocolate when they are feeling down? Or why people celebrate with chocolate? Chocolate has a combination of effects that create and enhance good feelings. Daily servings of chocolate have been shown to increase mental health and well-being.
Besides being able to lower your blood pressure and aid in the production of beneficial bacteria in your body, dark chocolate can also boost your body’s iron levels, making it great for anyone who suffers from anemia or any iron deficiency. There is much more iron in dark chocolate than in similar serving sizes of spinach, which has long been touted as a great source of iron. Popeye had it wrong for years…
The Numbers Game
To maximize health benefits, snap up dark chocolates that have high concentrations of cocoa: 60% is okay, but chocolates with higher cocoa percentages than that are even better. Just be aware that higher cocoa levels can cause the chocolate bar to taste more bitter than your average sweetened candy bar. That might bother some people but for many others it’s no problem at all: the bitterness of the cocoa becomes an acquired taste.
What to Look Out For
Obviously, chocolate is a favorite treat among candy lovers and sweet tooths around the world. You don’t want to confuse candy chocolate from the stuff that is going to benefit your overall health. Even quality chocolate can have additional ingredients, levels of the antioxidant flavanol can be different from one brand of chocolate to the next, even if they have the same cocoa content. Limit the amount of sugar and fat in the bar you choose, and be aware of how many calories are in each serving. Make sure that you are getting all of the health benefits you can from your chocolate and pay close attention to the ingredients.