There’s good news! It’s okay to eat chocolate again – as long as you choose the right one. Here’s how to select one that’s high in chocolate flavanols.
There’s good news if you’re a chocoholic! You no longer have to feel guilty when you indulge in your favorite dessert treat. In fact, you can feel right down virtuous – as long as you choose your chocolate wisely and eat it in moderation. Studies now show that the chocolate flavanols in dark chocolate have some surprising health benefits.
Why are Chocolate Flavanols so Beneficial?
The flavanols in chocolate are loaded with antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage – but that isn’t their only benefit. When you eat moderate amounts of chocolate flavanols, it causes the body to produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has a powerful effect on blood vessels, causing them to dilate so more blood can reach the heart and brain. A recent study even showed that foods high in flavanols improve exercise heart function.
Foods High in Flavanols for Younger Looking Skin
Would you believe that chocolate flavanols have benefits for aging skin? Studies show they help to protect skin against the harsh effects of ultraviolet light – the number one cause of skin damage and aging. It’s the antioxidant power of flavanols that cleans up free radical damage and keeps skin looking youthful.
How to Choose Flavanol Rich Chocolate
Now that you know that chocolate is good for you, it’s important to choose one that’s rich in flavanols. Unfortunately, when eating chocolate for its health benefits, you have to be selective. Some chocolates contain few flavanols because they’re destroyed during processing. The average chocolate bar in your local grocery store will do nothing for the health of your blood vessels – or your skin.
When selecting a medicinal chocolate bar, look for one with a cocoa content of at least seventy percent. If you’re accustomed to milk chocolate, it may taste bitter at first, so start with a bar with a lower flavanol content first if you’re accustomed to milk chocolate.
Look for chocolate products by the Mars company. They’ve developed a patented processing technique that preserves the flavanols in chocolate. They produce a line of chocolate products called CocoaVia that are rich in cocoa flavanoids. When choosing cocoa to drink, look for an unsweetened chocolate powder that isn’t Dutch processed. Dutch processing destroys most of the flavanols.
Mars recently launched a new cocoa product called Cirkuhealth which is a cocoa extract that’s easily added to beverages as a flavanol supplement. It has only thirty calories per serving – in contrast to the high calorie content of dark chocolate. This may be a better option for people who are watching their weight.
The Bottom Line?
Chocolate flavanols make it okay to eat chocolate again – as long as you choose the right one.