If you’re like me and you love chocolate, you might wonder, can chocolate be part of a healthy eating plan? The good news is that it can be, but you need to be careful about type of chocolate and the quantity you consume.
Chocolate has been around in one form or another for more than 3,000 years. It’s not hard to see why. But is it good for you? Chocolate has many health benefits. It is rich in flavonoids, which act as antioxidants that have been shown to protect the body from aging, reduce blood pressure and help balance certain hormones in the body. A number of recent studies on the positive effects of eating chocolate are listed in an article on the site Live Science.
Less processed, darker chocolates tend to have higher levels of flavonoids. Dark chocolate in fact, contains nearly 8 times the number of flavonoids found in strawberries. Flavonoids in chocolate are bitter, however, and that’s why dark chocolate is bitter. Lighter chocolates have sugar and milk added to counteract the bitterness and dilute the taste. With added sugar comes added calories, and with the added milk the pure chocolate is diluted.
If you want to include chocolate in your diet, then your best choice for chocolate is natural, unsweetened cocoa powder. If that’s too bitter for your taste, try lightly sweetened, dark chocolate, and stay away from light, highly-sweetened milk chocolate, entirely.
Remember, knowledge and action set the stage for great health! What actions will you take today?