Its’ Valentine’s Day! Many people demonstrate their affection by buying their partner flowers and chocolate. While delicious, this can be a day filled with a ton of extra calories! Luckily, you can still quell your sweet tooth. It’s okay to eat chocolate and not feel guilty, as long as you consume the right type of chocolate.
Not all chocolate is created equal, and it is important to select dark chocolate high in cacao instead of processed chocolate filled with sugar. Dark chocolate has many health benefits and is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, and copper.
First, dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants, especially flavonoids and polyphenols. The higher the cacao content in dark chocolate, the higher the percentage of antioxidants. The flavonoids have been shown to have cancer fighting properties, to have a positive effect on heart health, and to improve focus and memory. The polyphenols may be involved in cholesterol control and may improve the blood pressure and fasting blood sugar of diabetics.
When purchasing dark chocolate, choose brands that are minimally processed, have a cacao content of 70 percent at a minimum, ones that originate from organic or fairly traded cacao beans. Additionally, read the labels to avoid buying bars with hydrogenated oils, palm oil, and/or coconut oil. Choose dark chocolate made with cocoa butter instead. Additionally, while dark chocolate is much lower in sugar than conventional chocolate, choose brands made with stevia if you are diabetic or do not want to consume the sugar. Another thing to make note of is whether the chocolate is made with soy lecithins, which can be a potential allergen for some people.
So this Valentine’s Day, indulge your sweet tooth with dark chocolate and make your heart even happier!