We’re all about maintaining a balanced lifestyle here at Yogi Surprise, meaning that we love encouraging our members and readers to adopt healthy habits that make then feel good without having to completely deprive themselves of their most beloved guilty pleasures—whether that involves indulging in an occasional piece of cheesecake, spending an entire rainy Saturday spent watching Netflix, or even splurging on some super chic yoga wear!
Chocolate is one of those things that falls into both categories of healthy habits and guilty pleasures at the same time, which is why you’ll often find some pretty unique chocolate treats in both of our monthly Lifestyle and Jewelry boxes. While excessive amounts of chocolate is bound to do more harm than good, a reasonable amount of chocolate (specifically dark chocolate) can actually be extremely good for you.
Here’s what the wonderful world of science has to say about the benefits of dark chocolate.
1. It can help lower bad cholesterol—especially if combined with almonds!
A study found that eating one-third a cup of almonds every day either on their own or combined with a one-quarter cup serving of dark chocolate and 2 1/3 tablespoons of cocoa led to significant reductions in and cholesterol among overweight and obese participants.
2. It helps to improve blood circulation and thus lower blood pressure.
The darker your chocolate, the more plant chemicals called “flavanols” that it contains—which helps your heart by causing a relaxation effect on the blood vessels. For chocolate richest in flavanols, make sure you go for dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content.
3. It offers more nutrients than you might think.
When you opt for a dark chocolate bar that’s 70 to 85% cocoa instead of your typical milk chocolate bar, you’ll be fueling your body with a range of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and even a bit of fiber!
4. It might give your brain a boost.
The flavanols that dark chocolate can help your brain stay healthy in addition to your heart. Researchers have looked at long-term ingestion of dark chocolate in an elderly population and found that their intake of foods rich in flavonol was associated with better cognitive function.
5. It can improve your mood.
As if the taste of chocolate isn’t delightful enough, it turns out that chocolate contains many different mood-boosting components that help to induce those feel good chemicals in your brain. Out of eight studies on the effects of chocolate on mood, five showed either an improvement in mood state or a reduced negative mood state.
Remember to enjoy dark chocolate in moderation!
Dark chocolate is a very dense superfood at about 168 calories and 12 grams of fat (7 grams of which are saturated fat) per one-ounce serving depending on the specific brand or bar that you choose. Check the nutritional information before you indulge and stick to allowing yourself room for 100 to 300 calories worth of chocolate a day while maintaining a balanced diet the rest of the day and getting your daily yoga practice in.