Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food! With its many varieties and different tastes, eating chocolate is a fail-safe way to elevate our mood and give us a boost of extra energy, if only for a little while. In fact, we often turn to it when we’re craving something indulgent.
However, we’ve all been told that chocolate isn’t the healthiest snack. It’s packed with calories and added sugar, so it’s only reserved for special occasions… right?
Maybe not! Many research studies have found that dark chocolate in particular actually has many health benefits. Incorporating a small amount of it into your diet might not be a bad idea. But does it sound too good to be true? Can you really have chocolate if you’re watching your weight?
Dark Chocolate: The Facts
It Has Fewer Additives
Compared to milk and white varieties, dark chocolate has far less additives in it once it undergoes processing. Chocolate liquor, which comes from the smooth paste inside the cacao seed, is added to cocoa with a small amount of sugar to create this delicacy. In other versions, you will find added milk products and a larger percentage of added sugar.
It’s Rich in Antioxidants
Chocolate liquor, from which dark chocolate is made, is rich in antioxidants. These are nutrients found in foods that protect our bodies from free radicals. Antioxidants are responsible for helping our bodies restore any imbalance of free radicals, which could help us fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It could even help with aging!
Before Purchasing, Read the Label
If you’re looking to maximize the health benefits of dark chocolate, always look to the ingredient label on the package to determine the percentage of cacao. The higher the percentage, the more antioxidants. This means that you are getting less-processed chocolate with more nutrients!
Keep Portion in Mind
As with any snack, be mindful of your portion size. Dark chocolate is still high in calories because of its sugar content, but this doesn’t mean you have to give it up. Consider limiting your intake to small amounts once or twice a week. You can do this by planning ahead, being aware of calories, savoring the taste and enjoying the experience of eating without interruptions.
Yes, the truth is that dark chocolate CAN be good for you! If eaten in moderation, its nutrients and antioxidants are powerful tools for maintaining your health. Rejoice! You don’t have to completely skip over the sweet isle or throw these indulgences out, so long as you keep track of your portions and be mindful of what type of chocolate you are consuming.