There have been many studies in the news lately touting the various benefits of chocolate - dark chocolate in particular. These benefits range from lowering blood pressure to reducing the risk of diabetes. Excellent benefits indeed! And just by eating chocolate, the one thing most of us love. However, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Experts explain that Flavanols, which are found in cocoa beans, are responsible for health benefits found in chocolate. Flavanols, more prevalent in dark chocolate then in milk chocolate, create the antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease, as well as help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. Experts caution that more research is needed to confirm that chocolate reduces the risk of diabetes, as well as reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
If you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Most commercial chocolate comes with ingredients that add fat, sugar, and calories. Dark chocolate is a better choice than milk (less sugar and fat) but the best option is pure cocoa. It is low in sugar and fat, and offers all the health benefits - because they come from cocoa to begin with! Cocoa can be easily added to low-fat milk or oats for that chocolatey taste.