Whole grains, brightly-colored veggies and chocolate all have a place in a healthy, balanced diet. Surprising? Maybe. Good News? Definitely. Before you run out and eat a whole pan of brownies or a gallon of chocolate ice cream, know that all chocolate treats are not created equal.
Good-for-you antioxidants come from the cocoa beans used to make chocolate. However, cocoa has a naturally bitter flavor which is usually offset by adding sugar or milk. When choosing a chocolate treat, dark is usually best and enjoy in moderation to avoid overindulging on the sweet stuff.
Antioxidants help the body’s cells resist damage by fighting off free radicals which can cause harm if levels become too high. Flavanols, the type of antioxidants found in cocoa, help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.
The amount of research about the health benefits of chocolate is as plentiful as the sweet treats found in your grocery store’s candy aisle, so remember to take all studies with a grain of salt and check with your doctor before making any health or dietary changes.
Additional health benefits may include:
– Boosts heart health
– Decreases stroke risk
– Improves your mood
– Helps protect your skin
– May fight diabetes