All kinds of medical studies in the last few years have shown that you can obtain health benefits from dark chocolate. In a nutshell, dark chocolate has a high concentration of antioxidants, which protect the body and can actually repair certain kinds of regular cell damage. These studies attribute the antioxidants in dark chocolate to lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and protection from heart disease, as well as possible protections from stroke and cancer, decreased complications in pregnant women, and delayed brain function decline with aging.
So dark chocolate is a wonder food, and we should all eat as much as possible, right? Not so fast. As with many foods that can be good for you, moderation is the key. There is a right way to maximizing the health benefits of dark chocolate. Here it is:
1. The Darker the Chocolate, the Better
Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which contain the beneficial antioxidants, than milk or white chocolate. Most dark chocolate products have the cocoa percentage labeled. So choose dark chocolate — the higher the cocoa percentage, the better.
2. Eat Moderate Portions
Chocolate is a high-calorie food. Over indulge, and the health benefits of dark chocolate can be quickly outweighed by the health problems of weight gain. However, stick with small portions and you can still enjoy the health benefits of dark chocolate daily.
3. Avoid the High Calorie Extras
The health benefits of dark chocolate come from the antioxidants in the cocoa solids. All of the other ingredients, like sugar, and any extras, like nougat, caramel, marshmallow, etc., just add calories. To maximize the health benefits, stick with plain dark chocolate. Second best would be dark chocolate with nuts or fruit.
4. Do Not Consume With Milk
For some reason, not yet scientifically understood, the health benefits of dark chocolate are basically negated if the dark chocolate is consumed with milk. Avoid drinking milk with your moderate daily portion of dark chocolate.
We eat dark chocolate because we really enjoy it! But we can also maximize the health benefits of dark chocolate by following these four easy steps for including dark chocolate as a regular part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.