Valentine’s Day is around the corner and there is chocolate almost everywhere you go. You’ve been trying to cut out sugar from your diet and don’t want to lose all the effort you have made. But Valentine’s Day is around the corner and you are thinking of indulging in some chocolate. Can you enjoy chocolate as part of a healthy diet? Read on to find out.
Not all chocolate is made the same. Milk chocolate is high processed making it high in sugar. However, dark chocolate is rich in cocoa solids and contains antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavanols, a type of flavanoids have been found to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, possibly lower your risk for diabetes and even help improve your cognition. However, the flavonal content in dark chocolate can vary depending on which brand of dark chocolate you buy but, it will always have a higher amount than found in milk chocolate.
Also, not only does dark contain antioxidants like flavanol but one-third of the cocoa butter in dark chocolate is stearic acid which is a type of saturated fat. However, unlike other saturated fats, it appears to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol which means it is a fat that won’t have an effect on increasing your cholesterol levels.
So yes, you can enjoy chocolate as part of a healthy diet- dark chocolate! Not only are you getting a great tasting treat but many health benefits as well! Just take into account a few things. Choose a dark chocolate that is at least 60% cocoa. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher in flavanols and the lower in fat and sugar it will be. To maintain your weight and not overindulge, keep the portion to 1 ounce a day which is about 150 calories.
If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate more antioxidant-rich foods into your diet visit my website at hanamnutrition.com.