One of the biggest issues that many of us have when trying to keep healthy is that we want to indulge in our old favourite snacks. Potato crisps? Mostly unwise if cooked in oils. Sweets and candy bars? Absolutely not – unless these are manufactured to be nutritious. But what about chocolate? We all struggle to come to terms with not being able to enjoy chocolate – but it shouldn’t be like this. You can continue to enjoy chocolate in your routine while maintaining the healthy body you desire if eaten moderately.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate has been the subject of many studies in the past, and continues to be a big focus for us to find ways in which it can help us in everyday life. Often thought of as being fattening and too full of calories to even consider when trying to eat healthily or lose weight, chocolate is often forgotten about and, as such, so too are the benefits found within it. Consider dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate, which contains far less fats and sugars and is made from more of the cocoa bean. Cocoa has a naturally bitter taste and it is the additives that make it unhealthier for us when manufactured into milk chocolate bars.Chocolate bars that are 70% dark chocolate or higher, however, can prove to hold a lot of the health benefits that cocoa brings. What exactly are these benefits?
Studies have found that pure cocoa is one of the best antioxidants on the planet. Antioxidants are what we need to use as protection in our bodies from free radicals that can cause damage to the cells in our bodies. When listed alongside traditionally ‘healthy’ fruits and vegetables, cocoa seems to look far more appealing! Other studies have also suggested that chocolate can possibly help to lower cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease, or even assist in preventing memory decline. The list of benefits of cocoa – and chocolate – are a lot greater than you may have first thought. It is great to consider a little chocolate in your diet.
Cooking with Chocolate
If you are looking to benefit from the power of pure cocoa in your diet, it is most often recommended to use it in cooking as it is a bitter product. Dark chocolate is manufactured with additives to make it slightly sweeter and able to be eaten in squares. This can also be used in chocolate chips and chocolate sauces, giving you more options for chocolate use in your recipes with less of the guilt.
Cocoa can be added to many savoury dishes, including chilli con carne, which benefits from the bitter flavours and compliments the variety of spices that are present in this dish and make it a little richer as a result. Tomato soup is also another recipe that can prove to be improved upon with a little dark chocolate. Tomatoes are actually a great companion for chocolate, believe it or not, so next time you make a pot of tomato soup, add a little dark chocolate for a rich flavour sensation. It may seem surprising, but these healthy meals taste great and work well with a little chocolate, so enjoy your chocolate fix with absolute ease and confidence!
Exercise and Enjoy Small Treats
Keep your body healthy with your daily exercise routines. Head out for a run around the park, take your dog for a walk, or even ride a bike to work. Little changes can make a big difference to your body’s health. Yet, if you are working hard, there is no reason you cannot indulge one day with a small treat for all your hard work – just be careful not to overdo it with too many unhealthy foods, you don’t want to undo the work you put in over all these weeks in just one day after all.
A little chocolate in your diet is perfectly acceptable if you want to try a little dark chocolate, or if you’re feeling extra special, why not buy a delicious gourmet chocolate option? The Highland Chocolatier in Scotland offer a variety of chocolates by post worldwide, giving you some great, healthier options with a touch of luxury.
Go on, try all the ways you can stay healthy while eating chocolate in moderation – you’ll feel both the health benefits and the great tastes you thought you may have missed!