Staying fit doesn’t always mean tiring exercises and restrictive diets. Sure, it’s good to break a sweat and eat right, but for people interested in staying healthy one sweet spot remains.
Bear in mind, we’re talking about dark chocolate. The more raw and unprocessed the cocoa beans, the better for you. For it to be of any benefit to you, you’ll need at least 70% cocoa in your chocolate. The cheaper, milk chocolate found in most candy bars and other candy does not provide the same benefits to your health.
One of the most commonly known attributes that dark chocolate offers is its sheer amount of antioxidants per serving. Dark chocolate is loaded with powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavanols, catechins and more. In many studies, dark chocolate even scored much higher levels than other antioxidant powerhouses like blueberries and Acai berries.
A 100 gram bar of chocolate with at least 70% cocoa contains
- 11 grams of fiber.
- 67% of the RDA for Iron.
- 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
- 89% of the RDA for Copper.
- 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
- Substantial levels of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
As chocolate also contains a significant naturally occurring level of sugar and fat, intake should be in moderation while considering its benefits.
Regardless, the advantages of careful consumption of dark chocolate are stunning. Cocoa has a natural anti-clotting, blood thinning properties which in a similar fashion to aspirin can improve blood flow and circulation. Dark chocolate also lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol while reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems with its inflammation-fighting capabilities.
Even for things such as persistent coughs, chocolate has an answer. An ingredient in chocolate, theobromine, calms the vagus nerve. This, in turn, relaxes one of the triggers that can cause coughing fits. The effect is so profound researchers are beginning to study theobromine as a healthy alternative to codeine-based cough syrups.
However, we don’t want you to go out and ruin your appetites before dinner. Even the best chocolate is no match for a healthy diet but we recommend boosting that diet with some timely snacks. Perhaps an after-dinner nibble or a quick pick me up at lunch? Either are ideal opportunities to take advantage of all the wonderful health benefits dark chocolate has to offer while sating that sweet tooth.
Try getting creative, add dark chocolate chunks and coconut in your morning yogurt. Before your entrée arrives, sprinkle some shredded dark chocolate in your salad to balance out a tangy vinaigrette. However you choose to enjoy your sweet treat, is alright by us, just as long as you make sure it’s at least 70% pure cocoa to capitalize on all the amazing health benefits. And remember, everything is best enjoyed while in moderation, including treats like dark chocolate.
If you’d like to learn more fun tips and healthy living ideas be sure to stop back regularly to Dr. Goldfarb’s website.