By: Leanne Ely
The love of my life made itself known when I was mere child. A little tiny child. Young, vulnerable, happy and yet missing something. What was it?
Chocolate. That beautiful, silky, gorgeous experience of a food. Chocolate. OMGosh.
Today, I’m talking specifically though, dark chocolate.
Once upon a time, I was wildly in love with milk chocolate. But alas, I wisely gave up the sugar and moved on.
And yes, it took a little while for my taste buds to adjust and get used to the more boldere taste of dark chocolate, but I can honestly say now that I have grown to enjoy my delicious, dark chocolate treat.
And the bonus? Beautiful dark chocolate is a superfood! #holler
It’s the cacao in chocolate that gives it its distinct taste and it’s that cacao that’s packed with flavonoids. That little cacao bean is full of disease-fighting power! But the thing about cacao? It’s as bitter baby, bitter!
That’s why milk, sugar and butter started getting added to chocolate—to make it palatable (and quite delicious I might add).
But check this out—if you stick to chocolate that’s at least 75% cacao or cocoa (hey, did you know that cocoa is roasted, ground cacao?). That’s where you’re going to get all the amazing health benefits!
And what are those health benefits?
Let’s take a look at a few of them…
Heart health. A small amount of dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack while lowering blood pressure. That’s because of the antioxidant compounds in chocolate’s flavonoids which can increase flexibility of arteries and veins.
Diabetes prevention. The University of L’Aquila in Italy conducted a study that showed participants eating a bar of dark chocolate every day for 15 days had their potential for insulin resistance cut almost in half!
Weight loss. Dark chocolate can lessen your cravings for other fatty and sugary foods, so eating a small square of dark chocolate (and stopping at that) will help you to stick to your weight loss plan
Stress reduction. A small Swiss study showed that when people with anxiety ate just under two ounces of dark chocolate each day for two weeks, they had reduced levels of stress hormones. Reduced stress can reduce inflammation in the body!
See? It’s perfectly find to enjoy chocolate as part of a healthy diet, as long as you can stick to an ounce or two per day.
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