Chocolate has been shown to increase arterial blood flow and has many other health benefits as well. Cacao, or cocoa powder, is also a great source of magnesium, which not only reduces hypertension and heart disease, but also assists people with:
- joint problems
- pre-menstrual tension (PMS)
Nutritious Ways to Incorporate Chocolate into Your Diet
- Dip fresh fruit in chocolate to turn an already sweet, fresh treat into a decadent dessert full of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
- Drizzle chocolate on plain, nonfat yogurt to add that sweet flavor to your daily source of calcium.
- Add chocolate to oatmeal, which is known to lower fat and adds fiber to your diet. Throw in some fruit and nuts and this becomes a real treat.
- Chocolate covered nuts are a crunchy way to add healthy omega-3 fatty acids to your day.
- Dark chocolate bars of at least 70% cacao offer higher levels of cocoa phenols which lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants (epicatechin). Bars over 90% cacao tend to be more bitter in taste.
While chocolate is not necessarily bad for us, it is important that you consider the additional calories and fat from most of our favorite chocolate flavored foods. Getting your chocolate fix doesn’t have to bust your diet; just add a touch of chocolate to some of the healthy foods you already eat each day!