The surprising benefits of chocolate for health and well-being
Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you. While we often view chocolate as something we turn to for dessert, research shows that it may be healthier than we think. But, here’s the catch. It’s not the sugary chocolate bars that come with these proposed health benefits — it’s the unsweetened dark chocolate varieties we’re looking for.
So, if you want to learn how to turn that chocolate craving into something that can actually fit into a healthy diet, keep reading.
4 Surprising Benefits of Chocolate
#1 Chocolate For Brain Health
Research has suggested that the high flavanol content in cocoa may support mental performance and may even support brain function. Again, keep in mind that the cocoa studied is not the same as sugary chocolate bars — it’s the real unsweetened dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder.
#2 Chocolate For Mood
Aside from the fact that a piece of dark chocolate is just good for the soul, some research also suggests that cocoa may help support mood and even promote a sense of calm. While there is more research needed in the department of chocolate and mood, the initial research findings are impressive and give us good reason to keep enjoying that unsweetened dark chocolate!
#3 Chocolate is Also Incredibly Nutrient-Dense
Cacao is also packed full of powerful nutrients like magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown to have more antioxidants than many other foods! Try adding unsweetened cocoa powder to a superfood smoothie for a serious boost!
#4 Cacao As a Heart-Healthy Food
Some research has shown that the compounds found in dark chocolate may also come with some heart supporting properties. One study found that cocoa powder helped raised HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Chocolate The Healthy Way
Looking for some yummy ways to enjoy chocolate? Look no further. Here are some delicious ways to add chocolate to your diet the healthy way!
- Sprinkle raw cacao nibs over oatmeal.
- Add raw cacao nibs to homemade trail mix.
- Blend cacao nibs into a smoothie
- Add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to smoothies.
- Use cocoa powder to make gluten-free and plant-based muffins or healthier pancakes.
- Make chocolate chia pudding with cocoa powder and serve with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs.
- Use unsweetened cacao powder and full-fat coconut milk to make healthy chocolate milk.
Real Chocolate is Healthy & Delicious
Chocolate isn’t only delicious, it can actually be healthy. The trick is to stick to unsweetened 70% or darker dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, or raw cacao nibs. You would be surprised just how decadent and delicious real chocolate tastes!