Chocolate! The sound of the word is enough to get the taste buds tingling. Sadly, it’s often considered an indulgent treat packed with calories that will set you right on the path filled with‘oh-dear-my-jeans-don’t-fit’ moments. Here’s some good news for all those who have a sweet tooth: eating the right kind (and the right amount) of chocolate is good for you, and it’s been proven. That’s besides satisfying the cravings.
Welcome to the healthier world of dark chocolate! Instead of the regular milk or white chocolate, reach for a piece of the dark one. It’s sweet enough to satisfy the temptation, but dark chocolate won’t necessarily compromise on your daily calorie intake. In fact, this small piece actually improves your health and skin tone, with fewer calories than most desserts and more antioxidants than regular chocolate. Studies have shown that having this dark treat regularly keeps the heart going strong and the cardiovascular system running well. There have been documented instances where it has even controlled blood pressure and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Besides just tasting good, dark chocolate is known to contain serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. It also has other stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine to pep up your mood.
Now you might be tempted to take this info and immediately grab a chocolate bar, but there are a few things to be wary of before you do. You can have too much of a good thing, even chocolate, which is still a calorie-rich food. According to studies, to get the full benefits of dark chocolate, you have to limit yourself to 100 grams a day. It is important to balance out the calories; so, if you are including this bit of chocolate in your everyday diet, cut down on other desserts and sweet treats to keep a check on the total calorie count. And since 100 grams is not a really a large portion, be sure to savour each bite.
A natural, dark chocolate with nuts is a better choice than those with fillers such as caramel and nougat, since the latter add to the sugar content and cut down on the health benefits. Washing down the chocolate with milk is a no-no, as this only prevents the absorption of the antioxidants. Most stores stock up on muffins, cookies and other goodies that use dark chocolate. Use natural cocoa powder (dark chocolate powder) while baking. These are the healthier options, but no less tasty.
Eating a bit of dark chocolate everyday can improve your overall health, but the benefits of this yummy delight don’t end here. Chocolaty solutions are the current rage in the beauty industry. From massages to body scrubs and face masks, dark chocolate can be a delicious part of your daily beauty routine. With cocoa butter as one of its main ingredients, chocolate has skin-softening properties besides being a rejuvenating and refreshing element. The natural moisturiser helps makes the skin soft and supple. Other benefits of dark chocolate include:
Lines and wrinkles: Dark chocolate’s anti-aging allies, also known as antioxidants, help prevent free radicals from damaging the skin’s elastin, which helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Scars and stretch marks: The cocoa butter in dark chocolate has a high quality linoleic acid which helps reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. A chocolaty beauty treatment helps the skin regain its elasticity, bringing back that youthful glow. Chocolate treatment also helps protect the skin from sun damage and pollution.
Exfoliation: Chocolate face scrubs are immensely popular for exfoliation as these nourish the skin while removing dead skin cells.
Chocolate Honey Scrub (for dry skin)
10 gm pure cocoa powder
1 Tbsp honey
5 gm sugar
2 Tbsp almond oil
How to use it: Mix all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Gently massage it onto your face and neck and leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse with warm water for soft and supple skin.
So, go ahead and indulge in a piece of dark chocolate without the usual pangs of guilt, now that you know it’s actually a healthy choice. Take a bite of this temptation or use it as a beauty treatment; the dark wonder will work its magic inside and out. See… not everything that tastes good is bad for you!