Chocolate has the reputation of being a sweet and sinful treat that is full of calories and sugar. Well, take heart chocolate lovers along comes the dark variety and science is telling us now that it is a super healthy food.
Dark chocolate that is 70 percent cocoa, at a minimum, contains a high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in our bodies. Why is this good? Free radicals are a by-product of the natural process of oxidation that occurs within our bodies. Our bodies are like machines they generate fuel from our food intake so that we can live and be active. At the same time free radicals are created; like a waste product. Free radicals cause disease, illness and the aging process!
Dark chocolate is also a low glycemic food and that is good news for those who are diabetic or trying to lose weight. Be careful here though, it still has its share of calories so overindulging is not recommended. The fact that it is low on the glycemic index means it doesn’t create an insulin response which triggers reactions in the body that contribute to weight gain especially around your waistline.
We are now hearing about chronic inflammation and the ill effects it has on the body, particularly the heart. Well, dark chocolate decreases the inflammation in your body and protects the heart thus reducing the incidence of heart disease. Studies are now showing that it also increases blood flow to the brain and this in turn boosts memory and alertness. Sounds like a good snack choice for those studying for an exam!
The health benefits of dark chocolate are numerous and discoveries are still being made. Just remember a bar must contain at least 70 percent cocoa and if it does not say this percentage on the label then it doesn’t contain enough cocoa to provide you with these health benefits. I have seen many chocolate bars on the market that are only labeled as “dark” so be sure to read the label carefully. As with all foods moderation is key; dark chocolate is not low in calories so limit yourself to a small bar each day at a maximum.
Dark chocolate has been known to have a bitter taste at these high levels of cocoa. New methods of preparing it have resulted in a creamier taste while still maintaining its health benefits. So if you have not tried a bar because you think you will not like it, give it another try, you may be pleasantly surprised!