Craving Chocolate? Pick Smart for Sweet Health Benefits!

Craving chocolate is a common struggle that many of us face, and giving in to that craving can be all too tempting. In fact, researchers have discovered that chocolate cravings are some of the most intense cravings we experience. Between the need for a quick mood or energy boost and wanting to alleviate stress or boredom, many of us turn to chocolaty goodness. While it may feel like a guilty indulgence, not all chocolate is bad for you, so it’s essential to know what to choose and when.

Not all chocolate is created equal

When you’re deciding which chocolate to satisfy your cravings with, it’s crucial to recognize that not all chocolates are made equal. Most commercial candy bars undergo heavy processing, and their sugar content is off the charts. This processing removes the beneficial flavonoids found in chocolate, stripping away more than 50 percent of these vital antioxidants.

Furthermore, sugar raises insulin levels, contributing to inflammation. Milk chocolate bars, as the name suggests, contain milk, which counteracts the chocolate’s antioxidant effects. Proteins in the milk bind with chocolate’s antioxidants, making them less absorbable by the body.

Choosing the right chocolate

A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry aimed to determine the health effects of different types of chocolate. The results showed that the best form of chocolate, in terms of antioxidant content, was cocoa powder. Unsweetened baking chocolate came in second, followed by dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

Dark chocolate has shown numerous health benefits, such as reducing anxiety levels. It can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by one-third in women and one-fourth in men. In addition, dark unprocessed chocolate aids in glucose metabolism. However, it’s critical to distinguish between milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate has less sugar, making it slightly more bitter, but it also comes with more health benefits. Unprocessed cacao, featuring the highest antioxidant content and health benefits, is only enjoyed by around 5 percent of the population due to its bitter taste.

Satisfy your cravings wisely

When a chocolate craving strikes, it’s best to choose a low-sugar dark chocolate option. If you’re trying to avoid giving in to your chocolate craving entirely, taking a brisk walk can help. The School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter in England found that a 15-minute stroll could suppress the urge for chocolate, even when it’s easily accessible. So, keep this in mind the next time you have a hankering for chocolate – grab your walking shoes instead of a chocolate bar!

Boosting your chocolate experience

To make the most of your chocolate indulgence, ensure you’re consuming chocolate products holding at least 70 percent cacao. It’ll provide the best balance of flavor and health benefits. You might also consider finding chocolate sweetened with alternative natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol to minimize sugar intake.

Don’t forget to explore recipies using cocoa powder or other raw cacao products if you’re looking to enjoy chocolate’s benefits while limiting calories. Many healthy and delicious options are accessible for your next chocolate treat!