Almost everyone likes chocolate. It is a sweet treat that you can use in many different foods. Cookies, brownies, candy bars and more are all delicious and chocolatey, but full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. So, it may sound funny to think of chocolate as a health food. However, dark chocolate really is good for your health. It can actively fight diseases while still feeling like a treat. Let’s take a closer look at why dark chocolate is good for you and which types you should buy.
What is dark chocolate?
The big difference between dark chocolate and milk chocolate (or white chocolate) is that it is minimally processed and does not contain lots of added sugar and milk. Dark chocolate most closely resembles the cacao beans that are used to make all types of chocolate. Cacao beans have lots of health benefits, so dark chocolate does too!
What is in dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that can help your body in many ways. Flavonoids can help improve cognitive function, especially when it comes to memory. This is because flavonoids increase blood flow to your brain. Research has shown that flavonoids can increase blood flow to the brain in patients who are already struggling with memory loss from diseases such as dementia.
Flavonoids can also be helpful in improvising vision. Research is still being done to understand why dark chocolate helps with this. However, early studies show that those who eat dark chocolate can actually see better after eating this treat.
Flavonoids are also being researched as a cancer-fighting agent. Again, more research must be done but new studies are showing that dark chocolate can help protect your body from cancer.
In addition to flavonoids, another antioxidant called cocoa phenols can keep your blood pressure low, and dark chocolate is rich in it. However, only dark chocolate can deliver this benefit. The milk in other types of chocolate cancels out this important antioxidant.
Dark chocolate also contains cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is great for your cholesterol because it causes good cholesterol to rise. This is because cocoa butter contains oleic acid, which is a healthy monounsaturated fat. This fat, combined with the flavonoids, can significantly improve your blood pressure as well.
How do I know what dark chocolate to buy?
You may be wondering what exactly makes dark chocolate, well, dark. How can you tell that you are getting the best kind? When choosing dark chocolate, go for bars (or nibs) that are at least 70% pure cacao. Anything less than that can veer into regular, processed chocolate territory. There may be an adjustment period as you get used to eating dark chocolate. It is more bitter than milk chocolate but very flavorful. As your taste buds adjust, you’ll find that dark chocolate can be an excellent treat.
Remember that dark chocolate is still high in calories and should be eaten in moderation. It is also not a substitute for other healthy foods. However, it is a great addition to a healthy diet because it will improve your health. So, enjoy your chocolatey treat! You deserve it.