Good Measure Meals Healthy ConnectionsYes, Dark Chocolate (In Moderation) Does Hold Several Health Benefits - Good Measure Meals Healthy Connections

Yes, Dark Chocolate (In Moderation) Does Hold Several Health Benefits

Goodbye Milk Chocolate — Dark Chocolate Now Satisfies My Sweet Tooth.

Hands down my favorite treat is chocolate. Always has been. But since I started on my quest to eat healthier many years ago, I’ve begrudgingly moved on from traditional chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies to recipes that incorporate chocolate’s healthier, but much-maligned cousin, dark chocolate.

Why? Well, according to the National Institutes of Health, dark or “semi-sweet” chocolate contains more antioxidant-rich cocoa than milk chocolate, which generally contains more whole milk and sugar as additives. And who’s going to argue with the NIH?

Not only is dark chocolate a healthier alternative, it actually provides health benefits.
A University of California/Davis researcher spent several years studying the possible health benefits of certain antioxidants found in chocolate. These antioxidants — phenolic compounds, also known as flavonoids — are the same compounds found in red wine that give it antioxidant properties. Phenolics can help protect against or slow heart disease by preventing fat-like substances (LDL, or low-density lipoproteins) in the bloodstream from oxidizing and forming plaque that can eventually block arteries. Generally, the higher the percentage of cacao in your chocolate, the more antioxidants and less sugar and additives it will contain.

One of the basic ingredients in dark chocolate products is cacao beans (which are really seeds) that come from a small, tropical plant native to South America. The Mayans, Olmec, and Aztecs of Mesoamerica used to worship cacao, and thought of the hot, thick concoction they made from it as the “drink of the gods.” outlines some basic health benefits associated with the consumption of dark chocolate:

1. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure.

2. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function.

3. Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes.

4. As mentioned, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells.

5. Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health.

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Keep in mind that, while dark chocolate is certainly a healthier alternative to milk chocolate, you should enjoy it in moderation (just like anything else we love, right?).  There’s no need to feel guilty about the dark chocolate drizzle on your delicious GMM raspberry pancakes, but remember to go easy on those York Peppermint Patties and Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses!

Contributed by: Harmony Blackwell, GMM Customer Service Representative

Known as a real people person, Harmony’s daily goal is to uphold the GMM standards by providing friendly, helpful service to all of our customers. Whether processing orders, updating accounts, entering customer feedback, preparing the weekly menus and nutrition information, her personal mission is to provide every GMM customer with a positive, uplifting experience! Harmony is also the official GMM hula hoop champion!

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