Celebrate Chocolate Days with Darker Varieties
By Brandi Swieter
Multiple days exist throughout the year that celebrate chocolate. Whether it's National Chocolate Day at the end of October or World Chocolate Day in July, people everywhere should celebrate properly. Not just any type of chocolate will do if individuals are looking for health benefits. It's the darker varieties that are worthwhile.
Dark Chocolate Offers Antioxidants
No, a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar or Dove bar isn't going to cut it. The true dark chocolate options contain at least 70 percent cocoa and these do not live up to that designation. Unsweetened options with a higher amount than this contain a large helping of antioxidants beneficial to health. The flavanoids, polyphenols, and other compounds within it work to disarm any free radicals causing harm within the body. Eating a square or two each day could do well to improve overall wellness.
Dark Chocolate May Lower Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate contains flavanols that can stimulate the lining of the arteries. This stimulation sends a signal to relax and stop resisting blood flow. With blood now flowing more freely, blood pressure is lowered. The change is minor but it is there.
Dark Chocolate Can Protect the Skin
With improved blood flow throughout the body, there is also extra blood flow going to the skin. This increases collagen production and helps to keep the skin supple and smooth. Flavanols within also help to protect from sum damage.
Ways to Indulge
The darkest varieties of chocolate are rather bitter. Some may find them less than appealing to consume. Those looking for ways to indulge without wanting the overpowering taste can enjoy a drink version. Find cocoa powder to use in a hot chocolate drink with fat-free milk or water. Dark chocolate also pairs well with certain berries. Melt it over the top of strawberries or consume a square in the same bite full of raspberries. Individuals looking for healthier desserts can even try substituting dark chocolate in recipe that call for chocolate and find other substitutions as well, such as using unsweetened applesauce instead of oil.
Chocolate shouldn't ever be consumed regularly unless it's a dark version that offers health benefits. Even then, just a square or two of 70 percent or higher cocoa packs the most power that makes it worthwhile to the diet. Just be sure to limit other sugars throughout the day and enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables still.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Eastvale, Calif.