Surprise—chocolate can be good for you. But it needs to be a certain kind of chocolate – dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) that is non-alkalized or only lightly alkalized (dutch or dutched chocolate). Cocoa beans, from which chocolate and cocoa are made, are loaded with flavanols, powerful antioxidants that protect the body from dangerous molecules and thus aid in cardiovascular health. A recent study put dark chocolate at the top of the list for antioxidant power. Milk chocolate isn’t on the list because milk mitigates the effectiveness of the polyphenols.
Savor some dark chocolate every day. You can have about 100 calories of chocolate daily if you are active. Choose carefully, selecting darker chocolate with at least 40 percent cocoa bean or cacao content, notes the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Keep your portion small, since dark chocolate is still candy, with sugar, fats and calories. To enjoy the flavor fully, let the dark chocolate melt in your mouth at first, and then chew it slowly.
For a double treat, try dark-chocolate covered strawberries. Make your chocolate go farther by dipping only the bottom half of the strawberry in the melted chocolate. You get the nutrition benefits of dark chocolate as well as the antioxidant power of strawberries, which are also on the top antioxidants list.
For great health, eat a variety of foods, focusing on the superfoods that provide multiple nutrition benefits. Dark chocolate and strawberries are both on the list.