In today’s “diet culture,” many foods appear to be “off limits.” Naturally, many of us consider chocolate to be a prototypical “junk food” that has no business in our shopping carts if we’re trying to manage our weight.
But what about dark chocolate? Somewhere or other, you’ve probably heard that a little bit of dark chocolate here and there can actually be beneficial to your health. If chocolate is “off limits,” what’s really the deal?
Dark Chocolate – What Makes it Healthy?
Yes – dark chocolate can actually be good for you. This flavorful food is rich with antioxidants that protect our body from free radicals. Antioxidants help your body in numerous ways, including:
- Boosting your immune system
- Protecting your skin
- Reducing your risk of infection and disease
- Enhancing heart function
- Improving vision
- Boosting mental and emotional health
Many of these health benefits come from antioxidants found in dark chocolate and chocolate liquor. More chocolate liquor means more antioxidants, making dark chocolate the healthier pick as opposed to other varieties.
Remember – Everything Comes with Moderation
After reading about all of its health benefits, you may be thinking its time to stock up on dark chocolate. However, too much of this tasty food can lead to extra calories and weight gain. This is why it’s important to eat this sweet treat in moderation.
How can you avoid overindulgence?
- Keep track of the calories you eat (mindfulness)
- Remove distractions like television or cellphones
- Know Yourself – Be mindful of your habits and temptations
- Plan ahead – Buy individually wrapped pieces
- Savor the taste and eat slowly
Where Else Can I Find Antioxidants?
There are certainly plenty of additional ways to reap the benefits of antioxidants beyond dark chocolate. Consider these other healthy options which are typically lower in calories and easier to incorporate into your weight management plan:
- Fruits (especially berries)
- Nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.)
- Vegetables (broccoli, artichokes, leafy greens, etc.)
- Whole grains
- Teas of all types
When it comes to managing your weight, food restrictions aren’t the only way to go. Remember, moderation is key! There’s certainly room for a few treats every now and then, so long as you’re mindful about your goals and what your body needs.
If you’re looking for a snack to indulge your sweet tooth, dark chocolate can be one of your healthier options. Its high level of antioxidants can provide many health benefits, but only if eaten in moderation.
So yes – dark chocolate CAN be good for you! Not all diet taboos are true; just stick to your own goals, limitations and knowledge of your body. You’ll find what works best!