Happy #NationalChocolateDay! Today, for those in the United States, is a day to honour this delicious treat, but in fact, World Chocolate Day was actually on July 7th! No matter what day you celebrate, chocolate is a favourite treat amount people of all ages, especially now during the Halloween season.
But, did you know some chocolates actually have health benefits? With everything, moderation is key and knowing your personal health history and any conditions should be taken into consideration when introducing chocolate to your diet.
Benefits of Chocolate
Not all chocolates are created equally. Dark chocolate, especially, due to its higher cocoa, have more health benefits (and less sugar!) than your standard and often favourite milk chocolate options.
Good-quality dark chocolate has a number of benefits. It contains healthy vitamins and minerals (including magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese). It is also an antioxidant-rich superfood, much like acai, pomegranate, cranberry and blueberry. As an antioxidant, it can neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. This type of stress often leads to the development of heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and eye disease.
Eating chocolate in moderation (some studies says 20 - 30g per day), also has the following benefits:
Decrease stress and inflammation
Protect against UV damage
Protect from disease-fighting free radicals
Potentially prevent cancer
Improve heart health
Improve blood pressure and blood sugar
Improve overall cholesterol profile
Improve cognitive function
Of course, depending on your lifestyle, current health conditions, or medical history, chocolate can be a great addition to your diet. However, due to its high calories, it may also pose risks such as increased sugar intake (if eaten too frequently) and possible weight gain. Always seek the advice of health care professionals and listen to your body when judging whether you've had too much.
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