Wouldn’t it be amazing if cookies, candies, and pastries were actually healthy? Unfortunately, that’s not the case and everybody knows it. In fact, if something is REALLY tasty, it’s usually bad for you.
Having said that, there is an exception to that rule. And I’m not referring to your favorite fruit or vegetable either. There is indeed a treat that – according to most people is extremely satisfying – and yet still manages to do your body good.
A lot of good actually…
As it turns out, dark chocolate is such a treat because it lowers blood pressure. Of course, if you have out of control hypertension, you can’t expect to pop a few squares and get back to normal. Nevertheless, it has been shown to decrease it by a few points.
Not bad right? After all, every little bit helps. And the fact that it tastes great too should make it a staple of your diet – even if you don’t have high blood pressure.
But what exactly gives dark chocolate its BP-lowering properties?
In a nutshell, it’s flavonol content. It’s an anti-oxidant that, according to studies, increases nitric oxide production in your arteries. This gas causes them to relax and become less stiff. Naturally, this leads to lower pressure which protects you from heart disease down the road.
Now, while this tasty treat is indeed good for you, it’s important not to overdo it. Cocoa is bitter and so the chocolate you end up buying is flavored with sugar. Obviously if you eat bar after bar you’ll take in enough of the latter to cancel out any health benefits.
Therefore, the darker the chocolate, the better. Aim for a cocoa content of 70% or more. That, and limit it to a few squares per day. By doing so you’ll both satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your ticker beating strong into old age.