I’ve got some good news and some bad news; no, come to think of it, it’s all good. I’m going to show you how to balance your diet with a wonderful vegetable. This magical vegetable is none other than chocolate—it comes from a bean, right? And the best way to balance your diet is to have chocolate in both hands. I know you think I’m pulling your leg, but let me share some of the proven benefits of this sinful delight.
It’s important to know that not all chocolate is created equal. I’m not recommending the milk chocolate in the majority of the common sugary candies and drinks, but dark chocolate.
I know you think chocolate is just candy, a treat for Valentine’s Day or Halloween, but dark chocolate is actually loaded with nutrients and health benefits. Let me mention just a few.
- Each serving of dark chocolate is a good source of the minerals magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium and supplies nutritional fiber.
- Do you want to fight the aging process? Enjoy some chocolate; it is loaded with antioxidants that aggressively combat the damaging effects of free radicals.
- Do you need to lower your blood pressure and fight the formation of plaque in your arteries, minimizing clots and thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 50–60%? You got it, eat your chocolate. It has also been shown to lower the bad LDL while raising the good HDL. It increases the body’s production of nitric oxide which lowers resistance to blood flow.
- Going to spend time at the beach? The flavanols in dark chocolate have been shown to protect against sun damage. In fact it seems to be beneficial for skin hydration and even increases the skin’s density.
- Dark chocolate is brain food. It increases blood flow to the gray matter. The chemical compounds chocolate contains, like phenylethylamine, are the very chemicals your brain creates when you “fall in love,” and causes the release of the endorphins that make you feel happier. Maybe this is why they say chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t have to make an appointment.
With all the good, I do want you to know that chocolate is also fairly high in calories, and because it tastes so darn good, it is easy to overeat. And as we know, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. A small portion three to five times a week showed the most positive results. Most people will agree that on ounce of chocolate is worth a pound of anything else.