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Healthy & Happy Chocolate

guest post by isabella lovett

Snacking On Chocolate Can Make You Healthier And Happier

Chocolate is officially the number one comfort food, as found in a recent (2021) OnePoll survey. Around 46% of people surveyed said they nibbled on chocolate when they were having a bad day, while 41% said they enjoyed it on good days as well. The survey shows that the link between comfort foods and unhealthiness is a myth. This is because study after study has shown that chocolate has various health benefits - including the ability to foster better heart health, lower blood pressure, and keep diabetes at bay. Chocolate also has many surprising health benefits that help make you feel zero guilt at indulging in your favorite rich, gooey, melt-in-the-mouth treat.

Can Chocolate Make You Smarter?

If you have an exam coming up or you're worried about performing well at an important meeting or presentation, power up on chocolate at snack time - and make it dark! Most studies center on the benefits of dark chocolate, which is rich in minerals and antioxidants, and which also has less sugar than milk chocolate. Of all the fascinating studies carried out on chocolate, one of the most novel focused on testing the effect that this ‘food of the gods’ has on the mind. Researchers at the University of Nottingham found that chocolate increased circulation to key areas of the brain that can help increase performance and boost alertness.

Reaching For More Sustainable Ground

For many modern consumers, sustainability is a pillar of a healthy and happy life. Recent studies have shown, for instance, that fiber-rich, plant-based diets (which impact the environment far less than omnivore diets) are linked to a lower rate of depression. Many Americans are opting for environmentally-friendly meal kits which contain all necessary ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes for everything from salads to stews, and treats like chocolate lava cakes. Meal kits prioritize nutritional value as well as waste-reduction, which is why many contain chocolate desserts and snacks. If your meal kits don’t contain enough chocolate for you, keep a few extra bars at home for healthy snacking in between meals.

Chocolate vs Stress

If you have a stressful working or school life, then it's important to be aware of the link between stress and making poor snack and meal choices. Buck the trend by ensuring that you have many delicious treats to hand - including crudités and humus, kale chips, and your favorite dark chocolate bar. When it comes to chocolate and other snacks, keeping nutritional values and quantities in mind is important: experts recommend consuming about one to two ounces (30-60 grams) per day so as to keep your total calorie count at a good level. The average chocolate bar contains around 200 grams, so keeping it to a little less than half a bar a day is a handy way to stay on top of things.

Chocolate has been considered a guilty pleasure in the media for years, when in fact, it is a food that can be consumed in guilt-free fashion (with a dash of moderation). To obtain the maximum benefits of chocolate, keep it dark (i.e. opt for chocolate with a 70% cacao content if possible). Mix up this sweet treat with other healthy foods like dehydrated and roasted vegetables, and in the summer, chop up a few fresh fruits so you can easily make a salad when you’re feeling peckish.