There’s nothing better than learning that your “guilty vice” is actually a healthy indulgence. That’s why we’re shouting it from the mountain tops: “Chocolate is the new kale!” (well, kinda).
Chocolate comes in many forms, most of which would be considered straight candy, but we’re talking about the real stuff – dark chocolate (let’s say, 60% or higher), cocoa powder (no, not hot cocoa mix…unsweetened ground cacao beans), and cacao nibs (cacao beans that have been roasted, removed from their shell, and broken up into little pieces).
The benefits of cacao
Cacao contains antioxidants called flavanols (among other compounds) that help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, increase blood vessel elasticity, reduce inflammation, and lower LDL cholesterol… a collection of events that helps keep your heart healthy.
And there’s more… beyond the obvious boost to your mood that enjoying a piece of chocolate can bring, the flavanols and caffeine help dilate your blood vessels and deliver oxygen-rich blood to your brain, which actually makes you more alert.
Chocolate and weight-loss
It may seem crazy, but studies show that those who regularly nosh on dark chocolate have a lower BMI (body mass index). Perhaps it’s because a little goes a long way to satisfy your sweet craving. Some chocolate is rich in calorific fat and sugar, depending on the variety. So when you do indulge, make sure it’s the dark stuff (60% or higher) and limit to about an ounce per day.
The Nourish Snacks staff has a borderline (intervention-worthy) addiction to chocolate, so we whipped up these good-for-you blends that will most definitely hit your sweet spot.
Monkey Love: chocolate-banana granola bites
Miss Popular: 72% dark chocolate, half-popped corn kernels