Let’s face it, we all indulge in a little chocolate binge from time-to-time. And we usually experience a sense of guilt after we binge. But, you may be surprised to learn of the new health benefits that have been discovered in your favorite bar of dark chocolaty goodness. Before you get overly excited, let’s look at the facts:
Antioxidants Pack a Punch
Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate contains something called “flavanol antioxidants.” These flavanols have several proven health benefits. They help with vascular processes and can even lower blood pressure. Antioxidants also have other health benefits such as assisting your body’s ability to process outside contaminants (such as pollution inhaled into the lungs), slowing memory decline, and promoting healthy levels of oxygen in the body’s major systems. These are just some of the benefits that flavanol antioxidants offer.
However, flavonoids are very bitter, so in most milk chocolates and even low-quality dark chocolates, chemical and sweetening processes are used to mask the bitter flavor of these helpful antioxidants. This proves to be a problem since these chemical and sweetening processes compromise the integrity of the flavanols. Thus, over-processed chocolates may not have the health benefits that you may wish were packed into your favorite indulgence.
What’s the Solution?
Purchasing high-quality dark chocolate gives you a better chance of obtaining all the health benefits that chocolate can offer, without losing that lovely chocolate flavor that we all crave. Studies have shown that eating small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate periodically may lower the risk of heart disease.
So the next time you go to grab your favorite dark chocolate snack, you don’t have to feel guilty. A little dark chocolate a couple times a week can encourage good health and can leave you feeling sweet and satisfied.
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