If you love sweets, you likely love chocolate, as well. It’s impossible to resist for many, and for good reason — chocolate triggers the brain in a similar way as hard drugs or alcohol.
Luckily, though, chocolate is not nearly as destructive as all of that nonsense. And in fact, some forms of dark chocolate come with incredible health benefits, especially as compared to the milk and white varieties. It’s all about the high cocoa content.
How can one version of a snack be so much better than another? First, one of the best health benefits of dark chocolate is the fact that it’s packed with antioxidants known as flavonoids, which offer a whole range of positive effects.
“Among the flavonoids found in dark chocolate, epicatechin and catechin are thought to be particularly beneficial,” Dr. Daniel Boyer, MD, notes. “They help boost your mood and lower your blood pressure.” Therefore, eating dark chocolate can “help prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol,” possibly even improving blood floor and reducing your risk of clotting.
There’s not many healthy snacks as tempting as dark chocolate
Besides preventing cardiovascular issues, antioxidants also protect our cells from damage. Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, says antioxidants “work to prevent and treat the cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body as a result of toxins and stress.” Thus dark chocolate can lower our risk of health complications such as heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
Next, the cocoa in dark chocolate contains high amounts of magnesium, which the body uses for so many crucial functions. Increasing your magnesium intake can help “boost your mood and brain health and even acts as a vasodilator to dilate the vessels which increases blood flow to the brain.” All chocolate will contain a bit of magnesium, yes, but dark chocolate will likely contain as much as nine times the amount.
Lastly, dark chocolate is a great dessert option because its low sugar content doesn’t leave you wanting more like processed chocolate treats. “Dark chocolate is high in fiber, which can help you feel full more quickly and prevent blood sugar spikes. It is also low in calories while providing significant amounts of magnesium, which is vital to healthy muscles, bones, and teeth,” Dr. Boyer tells us.
So does all of this positive information on dark chocolate make you want to binge eat it? Hopefully not, because with all foods, balance is the key. Just don’t be afraid to treat yourself with some delicious dark chocolate once in a while.