Maintaining A Healthy Relationship with Chocolate
With Chocolates having been on display since February it’s hard to resist the delicious little Easter eggs as Easter approaches. However, having a healthy relationship with chocolate is associated with more successful weight management and quality of life. Is it time to reconsider the guilt many of us experience when we crave and eat chocolate?
Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Particularly dark chocolate has many health benefits due to the main ingredient Cocoa.
Full of Nutrients
Chocolate is high in various beneficial nutrients like Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorous and Fibre. For women, eating about 30 grams of dark chocolate every day will contribute to a balanced pregnancy diet and provide the nutrients required for Foetal development. For some the craving of chocolate can be because your body is warning you of a magnesium deficiency. It’s important to listen to your cravings with kindness and understanding.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Cocoa is rich in flavanols and antioxidants that in many ways may contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
The powerful antioxidants in dark chocolate can raise HLD levels (“good cholesterol”) and lower LDL levels (“bad cholesterol”). While the flavanols stimulate the lining of your arteries to produce nitric oxide and relaxes the arteries. With that, it improves the blood flow within your entire system and lowers blood pressure. Other compounds may also prevent the calcification of plaque in the arteries.
Balanced cholesterol and lower blood pressure are good for the heart and supports the functions of your heart. With that, dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Reduce The Risk of Diabetes
Yes, it sounds crazy but when eaten in moderation dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity in your body. Other compounds within cocoa boost insulin levels and help control blood sugar.
Assist Weight Loss
Dark chocolate is high in fibre, known to keep you feeling full and provide feelings of satiety. Cutting down cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. However, your suspicions are correct, consuming too much chocolate or milk chocolate defeats the benefits. Only a little dark chocolate in your diet might be helpful to weight management.
Boost Focus and Performance
Flavanols also increase blood flow to the brain and muscles and may improve mental alertness and physical performance.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are known to stimulate energy levels. The amount of caffeine increases with the amount of cocoa but 57g of 70% dark chocolate contains 50-60mg of caffeine. In comparison, a cup of coffee contains 100-200mg of caffeine.
The consumption of dark chocolate reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. While other nutrients within dark chocolate may help your body build the feel-good hormone serotonin and regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood.
Don’t get us wrong chocolate is high in sugar, fat, and calories, that in large amounts can be detrimental to health. But in moderation, chocolate could be better for you than abstaining. So, Ditch the Gilt and start your healthy relationship with chocolate today.
What is a ‘Healthy’ Relationship with Chocolate:
You’ve developed these habits and beliefs over years so changing your relationship with chocolate may take time, but don’t feel discouraged.
It’s important to know the difference between “yummy” and “its good for me”. Although cocoa-rich chocolate is both these things, it stops being good when you use its health benefits as an excuse to eat more of it.
Allow yourself to enjoy chocolate but remember a little is healthier than a lot. And hopefully, this list of health benefits inspired you to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
The Move It NQ team wishes you a healthy and happy Easter.