Treat Yourself to Dark Chocolate
Mmm, chocolate. Three syllables that inspire fear and loathing even as they entice. Because chocolate is a high-calorie food, many dieters avoid it. But doing so means losing out on the benefits of chocolate—dark chocolate, that is—and its abundance of antioxidants in the form of plant sterols. (Milk chocolate and “white” chocolate, alas, do not share these benefits.)
Extensive studies conducted throughout diverse populations have concluded that daily consumption of a moderate amount of dark chocolate can improve your blood pressure and that dark chocolate is actually a heart-healthy food. It is not, however, waistline-friendly, with a 100-gram bar of Hershey’s Special Dark containing a whopping 581 calories. So moderation is key. One to three ounces of dark chocolate a day, substituted for another treat (not in addition to other treats), contains a healthy amount of calories as well as plant sterols.
And don’t forget: the qualifier is “dark”. Dark chocolate contains 70% or more cocoa, and real cocoa powder (as opposed to hot cocoa mixes, which often have more sugar than cocoa) is actually the best way to get your daily chocolate fix, as it contains the highest number of plant sterols and the greatest amount of antioxidants. So the next time you reach for a treat, go for the dark!