Many health websites and resources claim that dark chocolate is the new diet food. While it’s true that dark chocolate is good for you in many ways, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when adding this sweet treat to your diet. Find out more about what dark chocolate can do when it comes to weight loss and what you need to look for when buying this candy.
The Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has been shown to contain several healthy ingredients. The most notable one is flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant known as polyphenols. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are responsible for its many potential health benefits, which include:
- Decrease LDL cholesterol: Eating dark chocolate may help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels thanks to its high antioxidant content. Dark chocolate also it contains stearic acid and oleic acid, two types of fat that don’t raise cholesterol.
- Lower blood pressure: In numerous studies, those with hypertension who ate dark chocolate found that their blood pressure was reduced after having the chocolate for just a week or two.
- Increased blood flow: The antioxidants in dark chocolate also help increase blood flow in the arteries and the heart. Dark chocolate can also reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Improved mood: Dark chocolate can give you a boost of serotonin and endorphins that makes you feel happy and calm.
- Improved cognitive performance: In one study, elderly individuals who regularly ate dark chocolate were found to have better cognitive performance than those who didn’t.
- Healthy minerals: Dark chocolate contains healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
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These benefits are great to hear about, but they don’t really affect weight loss. Fortunately, there are two ways in which dark chocolate can help you drop a few pounds:
- MUFAs: The term “MUFAs” stands for monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to speed up your metabolism so you can burn calories and fat faster. Dark chocolate contains a lot of MUFAs, which makes them a good choice for healthy weight loss.
- Curbing appetite: Dark chocolate has also been shown to curb cravings for salty, sweet or fatty snacks.
Tips For Incorporating Dark Chocolate In Your Diet
Even though dark chocolate has a lot of potential health benefits and may even help you lose weight, that doesn’t mean that it’s truly a health food. Instead, think of dark chocolate as a small add-on to your diet that has limits and restrictions just like any other food. In order to get the most health and weight loss benefits out of your dark chocolate, the University of Michigan Health System recommends limiting your intake to about 1 ounce per day (or 7 ounces per week). This helps to limit the amount of fat and calories you’re consuming when you eat dark chocolate.
Because dark chocolate may help curb your appetite, considering saving your daily allowance of this treat until a craving strikes. If you tend to get hungry sometime between lunch and dinner every day, try eating a small piece of dark chocolate at that time. It’ll satisfy your craving while helping to keep you full until it’s time for your next meal. Or, you can eat a small piece after a meal – the fact that you’ve just eaten will help prevent overindulging.
Remember that dark chocolate does contain caffeine, so you probably won’t want to eat this food too close to bedtime. In addition, those who are prone to kidney stones shouldn’t regularly eat dark chocolate since it contains oxalates, which can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
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What Kind Of Dark Chocolate To Buy
If you’ve decided that you’d like to try adding dark chocolate to your diet to help you lose weight, there are a few important things to know about before you go shopping for your sweet treat. Use the following tips to get the healthiest dark chocolate available:
- Choose dark chocolate with at least 60 percent cocoa solids. This is the minimum level of cocoa to ensure that your chocolate will offer the above health and weight loss benefits. The darker the chocolate, the better.
- Make sure your chocolate looks nice. Ideally, the dark chocolate you eat should be brown or dark brown in color and have a glossy sheen. Avoid chocolate that is grayish in color or has white spots or tiny holes in the surface.
- Find dark chocolate that is made from cocoa butter. Cocoa butter doesn’t raise your cholesterol, so it’s preferable to dark chocolate made with cholesterol-raising fats like palm oil or coconut oil. Your dark chocolate should not be made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, either.
Remember that dark chocolate alone is not enough to make you lose weight. If you really want to lose a few pounds, make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly.