Although there are few and far between who don’t like any kind of chocolate at all, most would agree that the sweet treat is their favorite. From gooey caramel and creamy fillings to nutty chunks and dried fruit, there is a type of chocolate than can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. But what is the best kind – in terms of healthiness? Doctors and dieticians would say in unison dark chocolate – and the higher the cacao the better.
Seeing as it is World Chocolate Day tomorrow, let’s look at why you should treat yourself to a yummy square or two (or a whole bar, no judgements) and why you should choose dark chocolate over milk or white, according to dietician Erdi Abdullah Uğur.
Cacao nibs are loaded with antioxidants, and the less processed they are the higher their antioxidant content. As yummy as they are, milk and white chocolate, unfortunately, have a lot of sugar in them and some brands may even use milk powder instead of the real deal, all of which are ingredients that affect the immune system negatively. So try to choose chocolates with reduced sugar and more than 70% cacao.
Cacao beans, from which chocolate is made, also have anti-inflammatory properties that fight against damage in tissues. This is also the reason why some doctors recommend it to combat cardiovascular diseases.
The antioxidants chocolate contains can help lower LDL cholesterol, the “bad” type that leads to a fatty buildup in your arteries, all the while supporting HDL cholesterol, the “good” type that acts as a cleaner-scavenger, carrying extra cholesterol and plaque buildup away from the arteries and back to the liver.
Ward off mental illness
Cacao contains flavonols, which are compounds found in plant foods that have great anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Dark chocolate has as much as eight times more flavonols than milk chocolate. Recent studies have shown that these healthy chemicals can increase blood flow to the brain, offering hope for the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Eat for better skin
Chocolate can also help our skin renew and repair itself thanks to the polyphenols it contains. By keeping the skin hydrated and supporting skin functions from the inside out, dark chocolate has also found to have some positive effects on dermatitis and skin rashes. Antioxidants inside chocolate can also help the skin maintain its elasticity by way of supporting collagen production and strengthening the skin's self-renewal capacity.
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