Dark chocolate cubes

The benefits of chocolate – You Need To Read This

Welcome back to the self care inspiration series. A collection of posts all about self care, looking after yourself and creating a happier you. This week is all about the benefits of chocolate, believe it or not.

A lot of people don’t know where to start with self care, or they think that they don’t have the time, so to help you out, I will be posting my tips, tricks, and inspiration for that much needed you time, helping to create a moment of calm in our busy lives.

Getting started

I don’t know about you, but my life is so hectic during the week, that by the time the weekend gets here, I just need to chill out a little bit and do something for myself that makes me happy. This series is all about making you smile and making you feel good about yourself so that you’re left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

The benefits of Chocolate

For this weeks self care post, i’d like to talk about chocolate. When you think about chocolate, you probably think of a sweet, indulgant treat that doesn’t do much good for your waistline, but did you know that eating chocolate actually provides a lot health benefits? Now, I’m not advocating you get through a family size bar all to yourself every evening, but treating yourself inmoderation can be a great little self care technique that can make you feel good in more ways than one.

Dark chocolate cubes on a dark background

Before you run to the shops to pick up a bar laden with caramel and marshmallows, have a look at these helpful tips to make sure you’re getting the best out of the chocolate you eat:

Think about the colour

When choosing your chocolate, you should always go for the dark variety. Out of the three types of chocolate, it’s the only one that has proven health benefits, and is actually classed as a superfood. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than the other varieties too meaning that it doesn’t have as many calories and can be enjoyed almost guilt free.

The ones to avoid

Milk chocolate is yummy, but it is nowhere near as good for you as dark chocolate. Milk chocolate has a lot of milk and sugar added to it which is used to combat the bitter taste that dark chocolate can have. It also contains less of the cocoa bean than dark chocolate, and the cocoa bean is where the nutritional value is.

White chocolate, while also nice to eat doesn’t contain cocoa solids, which is where all the nutrition is found. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk, so there isn’t really anything in it that will have any nutritional value, just a lot of sugar.

If you want to enjoy all the health benefits that chocolate can bring, I would stick to the dark stuff. It’s also worth noting that the recommended amount you should have is about 30/60g a day.

Finding a good one

If you want to find a good dark chocolate that will have all the right health benefits, then it’s worthwile doing a little bit of research. Picking a good chocolate is a bit of a fine art!

Some things to look out for:

  • Not much sugar
  • No added milk
  • 70% cocoa or higher
3 chocolates

Nutrition

Dark chocolate contains a number of minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, all of which are beneficial to your health.

Any woman knows that iron is important for us females, and luckily dark chocolate provides quite a bit of it. When eaten in moderation with other iron rich foods, it can actually do you a lot of good. It’s turned into a bit of a joke that women reach for the chocolate when they’re on their period, but actually, it’s a good idea to treat yourself and up your iron intake at a time when you really need it.

Dark chocolate is also a good source of fiber and protein which can help to manage your weight and stabalise blood sugars. It’s also rich in antioxidants which can help to prevent a wide range of illnesses and problems. What better reasons do you need to indulge a little bit?

Mood booster

Dark chocolate is proven to be a mood booster, and can help with stress levels, and in some cases, depression.

Resveratrol, which is an antioxidant found in dark chocolate, can boost endorphin and serotonin levels in the brain. Endorphins and serotonin can both improve your mood and make you feel happier.

Physical health benefits

As well as being great for your mental health, chocolate can also do a lot of good for your pysical health

Heart

Did you know that chocolate is actually good for your heart? Dark chocolate contains, among other things, flavonoids, that help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart. They also protect against damage to the lining of the arteries and help to prevent blood clots.

Cholesterol

Chocolate contains saturated fats, but unlike the saturated fats in meat and dairy products, the ones in chocolate don’t make your cholesterol levels go up, so you can enjoy a sweet treat without worrying.

Skin

Chocolate has an anti aging affect and is good for our skin. The polyphenols and flavonoids in dark chocolate can help to absorb uv light. This protects our skin from the sun and improves its natural resistance to uv. It also helps to increase blood flow, keep the skin hydrated and increase it’s density. What could be better?

Eyes

Chocolate is said to help your eyes and in turn, your vision. Research has found that people perorm better on vision tests when they eat dark chocolate. The flavanols in dark chocolate increase blood flow to the retina and help to maintain our eye health.

3 chocolates and a rose

Treat yourself

So, as you can see above, chocolate is actually good for you!

Why not use it as a little pick me up to beat the Monday blues? Or you could indulge in some on a Friday evening when the kids are in bed to kickstart your weekend. Whenever you decide to have some, sit back and think of the health benefits.

Just remember:

  • Stick to dark chocolate, the others don’t have any health benefits
  • Pick chocolate which is at least 70% cocoa
  • Don’t go over 30/60g a day

I don’t know about you, but I’m now off to buy some chocolate.

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2 Replies to “The benefits of chocolate – You Need To Read This”

  1. I know a lot of people really don’t like dark chocolate but I LOVE it and it makes it all the more pleasing because of the health benefits that go alongside it. I had no idea it aided skin though as well! x

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