Although healthy chocolate seems inconceivable, the truth is that chocolate offers numerous health benefits. For example, cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, can reduce the risk factors of heart disease. Flavanols, an ingredient in cocoa beans, act as antioxidants, which reduce cell damage physicians see with heart disease. These benefits exist not only in chocolate, but also in sugar-free chocolate. With the number of diabetes cases on the rise, sugar-free chocolate has great value.
Benefits We Receive from Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has more flavanols in it than white or milk chocolate. Some of the health benefits associated with dark chocolate include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improvement of vascular function
- Reduced risk of a stroke
- Enhancement of one’s mood
- Blood thinner/anticoagulant
- Decreasing appetite
- Prevention of diabetes
- Lowering the risk of a heart attack
- Improved vision
- Reduced inflammation
Stroke & Heart Attack Prevention
A recent study published at Months University in Australia assessed over 2,000 people who have an increased risk of heart disease. The study found that the daily consumption of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate (containing no less than a 70 percent content of cocoa) could prevent 15 fatal strokes/heart attacks and 70 non-fatal cardiovascular events for every 10,000 people over a 10-year period. This is not the only study that suggests chocolate is beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Chocolate Can Lower Your BMI
A study published in March of 2012 took it a step further. This study suggested that people who consume chocolate on a regular basis are actually slimmer than those who do not. According to a study conducted by Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a professor of medicine at San Diego’s University of California, out of the 1,000 adults that she studied the individuals who consume chocolate the most frequently have a lower BMI.
For some people, high amounts of sugar can cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. The effects are greater in individuals who already have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Sugar-free chocolate lets you avoid sugar while enjoying the sweet taste and everything else you love about chocolate.
MayoClinic.com recommends individuals consume 3 ounces of chocolate each day. With that recommendation you can feel good about giving chocolates to the special people in your life; especially with the abundance of sugar-free chocolate options on the market these days!