Medical research has shown that dark chocolate has a multitude of health benefits that should make you feel substantially less guilty when reaching for a bar.
Besides its rich and bittersweet flavour, dark chocolate, or cacao, has a lot going on behind the scenes that make it one of nature’s most potent superfoods. Flavanols, which exist in abundance in dark chocolate as well as teas, berries, apples, wine and grapes, are chemical compounds that have been proven to improve your overall health and maybe reverse some damage as well.
Research has shown that the brain shows heightened activity after eating dark chocolate, specifically in the areas associated with memory, cognition, happiness and...love.
And speaking of love and happiness, cacao also contains ingredients that are incredibly beneficial for your heart, as well as your circulation. A few bites of dark chocolate can relax the walls of your blood vessels, making it easier for white blood cells to pass through and cutting down on clogging. This can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.
The only downside? Some dark chocolate can contain a fair amount of sugar to counter the bitter flavour. This means that consumption of more than a few squares at a time can throw all of those benefits out the window.
For best results, aim for dark chocolate bars with a cocoa content of 70% or higher, because usually the more cocoa the bar contains, the less sugar.
For a great recipe using dark chocolate and fresh fruit, check out our easy to make Smoothie Ice Lollies with a dark chocolate sauce. They’re a little sweet, a little tart, with a lot of guilt-free healthy goodness.