It is hard to believe that something as decadent as dark chocolate can be good for you. Although chocolate isn’t considered to be a “health food” – chocolate contains attributes that can be a benefit to you – or at least to your mental health!
Cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, is derived from cocoa beans. Flavanols in cocoa beans have an antioxidant effect that has shown to reduce cell damage associated with heart disease. Research also shows that Flavanols are beneficial in helping to lower blood pressure. Because dark chocolate contains more Flavanols than milk chocolate, it is a better choice, if you decide to indulge.
But before you run out and buy a jumbo size box of chocolates, you should be aware that much of the evidence for heralding the virtues of chocolate has come from short-term uncontrolled studies. This being the case, if you are considering adding chocolate to your diet, moderation is advised.
When choosing chocolate for yourself or a loved one, consider dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 65% or higher. If you are planning to eat chocolate, 3 ounces (85 grams) a day, is the amount some studies have shown to be helpful – about 2 to 3 small squares.
The bottom line is, if you are living an active and healthy lifestyle, dark chocolate, in moderation, may just be what the coach ordered!