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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

by Christie Cash August 12, 2015

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Flavonoid load, anti-inflammation, anti-stress and more: chocolate can be good for your health when it's in its deepest, darkest, most sumptuous form!

Dark Chocolate May Reduce Stress

Dark chocolate may just be the perfect recipe to calm your daily stress level.

If you lead a very high stress lifestyle, this is taking a toll not only on your health, but your fat loss results as well.

Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which may prompt your body to store excess fat in the abdominal region. Not to mention stress weakens your immune system, making you more prone to falling ill. You’ve likely seen this before if you’ve caught the common cold or flu after a particularly stressful or busy time in your life. Once your immune system was weakened thanks to stress, the virus attacked!

Dark chocolate may just help reverse this. Eating dark chocolate will trigger the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine to be released in the body, which instantly puts you into a more calm and relaxed state. The fact that you feel good after eating dark chocolate isn’t all in your head – there are actual scientific reasons for you feeling this way.

Dark Chocolate's Flavor May Promote More Responsible Portioning

Many milk chocolate products are packed with the kind of sugar that makes your brain instantly happy and hooked for more. Speaking of which - check out our article on how to kick that sugar habit for good!

But dark chocolate is more cocoa than crazy, evidenced by its bitter bite. That bitterness and lower sugar content, an acquired taste for some, may help you slow your savoring and keep your brain calm and portions in check.

The less you eat milk chocolate, cake, syrups and more, the more rich and sweet foods like fruits and dark chocolate will become!

It's still not a binge-appropriate choice, though.

Note that one serving of Dove dark chocolate (40 grams) will contain 210 calories, 13 grams of fat. 8 grams of that are saturated, however some of this is in the form of stearic acid, which will be converted in the liver to a healthier form of fat.

Basically, just don’t go crazy. Eating too much chocolate will still set you up for fat gain due to the high calorie and fat content it contains. Aim for 10-20 grams per day to keep your calorie intake in check. If you do, you can feel good indulging.

Dark Chocolate Contains Flavonoids

Flavonoids are metabolites that have been shown to be:

  • Extremely effective in helping our bodies get rid of toxins.
  • Protective against heart disease as well as lower blood pressure, two key factors involved in sustaining optimal health.
  • Potential reducers of inflammation and fungal infections.

But you're going to want the kind with 70% cocoa content or higher!

Dark Chocolate Makes for Easy, Decadent Recipes

Just how easy, you may ask? Read on:

  1. Heat up your favorite non-skim milk (start with a quarter to half a cup to test) on low in a small saucepan.
  2. Once you see some bubbles forming, start whisking in small pieces of your dark chocolate.
  3. Whisk and whisk until the mixture becomes homogenous and soft, like a melty delicious pudding.
  4. Pour it over hazelnuts with a dash of honey.
  5. Put it on sweet, amazing strawberries.
  6. Roll it in natural peanut butter and granola clusters.
  7. Shoot - why not try it with some blueberries?

You get the idea - it's a fabulous treat, although a treat it should remain.

Have a fabulous dark chocolate recipe that's high on natural sugar and low in calories? Share it with us on social media with #mybikinibod.

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Christie Cash
Christie Cash

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