fves de cacao

It’s true; chocolate can be good for you and part of a healthy diet!

Yes, chocolate is high in sugar, fat and calories; but pure chocolate is also rich in antioxidant phytochemicals called flavanols that have an array of healthy benefits.

Cocoa has health-sustaining properties that are good for your cardiovascular system.  Surprisingly, while chocolate contains a bit of saturated fat, it does not seem to negatively impact blood lipids.  In fact, regular cocoa consumption is associated with improved HDL levels as well as reduced risk for diabetes and stroke.

Cocoa powder is difficult to incorporate into a regular diet; although one way to incorporate cocoa powder into your diet is to make hot chocolate (with sugar and milk) at home.  But, solid chocolate in chip or bar form is probably your best bet for getting your daily fix of cocoa.

Know what to look for. Chocolate varies with its cocoa content, and you’ll want to find a product that is at least 60% cocoa.  Semi-sweet, baker’s or dark chocolate are often your best bet.

Why is some dark chocolate so bitter? The flavanols give cocoa its bitter flavor, unlike milk chocolate— the kind used in most candy bars and as coating for protein bars. This is because milk chocolate contains less cocoa and it has milk added to it so it tastes sweeter.  As for white chocolate, forget about it…White chocolate isn’t chocolate at all! It is a waxy confection with zero flavanols.

So, where does chocolate fit into a healthy diet?

The answer lies in your overall consumption.

Anything chocolate flavored doesn’t suffice.  Again, it’s the dark chocolate that has a beneficial effect on your health.  So dairy desserts flavored with chocolate don’t fit the bill.  Nor do chocolate baked goods.  These both have additional sugars and fat which dilutes the cocoa content.

Just ONE ounce of chocolate with at least 60% cocoa is a good target. One ounce contains about 160 calories, so don’t forget to include it as part of your daily caloric intake goal.

Dark chocolate bars are simple to divide into 1 ounce (28 grams) portions since most bars are about 3 ounces, all you have to do is split it into thirds.

If you are a chocolate lover this is probably great news! Just keep your portions under control and you can enjoy the taste and health benefits of chocolate without hindering your fitness goals!

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