8 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating Dark Chocolate

Although we’ve survived the holiday season, we’re still kind of on a highway to the danger fat zone. You most definitely have between one and three tins of Mommy and Grandma’s cookies sitting in your apartment, and some ungodly-sized Ziploc bag filled with chocolate lying on a kitchen counter. It calls to you.

The good news, tho, is that the dark chocolate that has been bestowed upon you isn’t all that bad. Honestly, you shouldn’t even feel guilty about indulging here and there. Here are eight reasons why you can feel kind of okay about diving headfirst into the darkest of desserts.

1. It’s Nutritious AF

It isn’t going to take the place of a salad, but eating dark chocolate is actually pretty good for you. According to Healthline, a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa has 11 grams of fiber, 67% of the recommended daily intake for iron, 98% of the recommended daily intake for copper, and tons of potassium, zinc, and selenium. Idk what 90% of those things do, but the Internet told me I need it.

2. It Reduces The Risk Of Strokes

OMG yay. According to a 2011 Swedish study, women who ate 45 grams of good quality dark chocolate per week (that’s like, two candy bars) had a 20% lower risk of stroke when compared to women that only ate nine grams or less of the same delicious sh*t. So, basically, keeping a hoard of chocolate in my desk and refusing to share is just me looking out for my stroke risk.

3. It Helps With Math

If you, like me, are declaring 2019 the year of budgeting and calculators and money-saving apps, chocolate can actually help, kinda. According to The Daily Beast, “British psychologists found that flavanols (a class of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate) helped people with their mental math. Study subjects had an easier time counting backwards from a randomly-generated number between 800 and 999 after drinking a cup of hot chocolate than they did without the cocoa.” Wow, so, like, if I chug 800 calories worth of liquid chocolate, there’s a chance I can remember how much money is in my bank account better than if I don’t chug chocolate! Neat!

4. It’s Full Of Antioxidants

According to Cosmo, dark chocolate has the same amount of antioxidants as apples. Mind explosion. Why do we care? Cause antioxidants can fight v uncool sh*t like the appearance of wrinkles and the early onset of not chill things like Parkinson’s.

5. It’ll Make You Less Stressed

… and you won’t be overcome with guilt after eating it, since it’s practically a vegetable, what with all of it’s good-for-you sh*t. A study found that people who rated themselves as highly stressed (slowly raises hand) found themselves feeling significantly LESS stressed after eating chocolate every day for two weeks.

6. It’ll Boost Your Sexytime Drive

LOL bring on the libido. You’ve got to eat A LOT of chocolate for it to make a big diff, but the point is that dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which, according to the scientists at Cosmo, is a chemical the body releases in response to physical attraction. So, logically, chocolate = brain alert that something or someone is hot.

7. It’s Great For Weight Loss

According to Women’s Health, “Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is far more filling, offering more of a feeling of satiety than its lighter-colored sibling. That is, dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.” In other words, chocolate makes you feel full so that you’re less likely to eat cookies, cheesy blasters, hot dogs, etc.

8. It’s Good For Your Skin

Literally yes. Chocolate contains skin-protecting chemicals that can actually act as internal sunscreen. In a study done by some dessert-obsessed German scientists, it was found that flavonoids in dark chocolate protected women’s skin from the sun. Wow, science.

So, there you have it. Now get out there and crush a half-pound chocolate bar like the health freak you are. Just make sure it’s dark chocolate, or else all bets are off.

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (4)

Healthy Chocolate Desserts That Don’t Taste Gross

Healthy chocolate desserts sounds like an oxymoron, but like many things in life (calorie-free ways to get drunk, easy cheats to get a bikini body in 48 hours, zero-calorie foods), countless hours and millions of questionable blog posts have been dedicated on how to do the impossible. And while much like the other fads mentioned above, a perfectly healthy and delicious chocolate dessert doesn’t exist (duh), there are certainly semi-healthy, semi-tasty options out there.

I suppose I should probably preface this by reminding everyone of the obvious fact (if this hasn’t been beaten into your heads enough already) that it’s OKAY to treat yourself to something gloriously unhealthy. Eat that thousand calorie slice of Death by Chocolate cake if that’s your jam. However, sometimes you might want to have your cake and eat it too, without worrying about messing up your macros or eating gluten or whatever everyone does these days.

Since I love eating weird food and experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve tried a bunch of honestly disgusting unique “desserts” over the years, some which have (shocker!!) majorly sucked. A few have been pretty decent substitutes, however, so without further ado, here are some so-called desserts to steer clear of (no matter what your fave healthy dessert blog promises you) and some actually decent options to try.

Avocado/Cauliflower/Black Bean Brownies

Just no. There are countless food blogs that insist avocado is a great butter substitute (false! Avocados are rubbery and tasteless), that cauliflower is a tasteless low carb flour sub (please imagine a cauliflower-chocolate brownie and try not to vom), and that black beans work great for color, texture, and taste (ALL I COULD TASTE WAS BEANS). Vegetables do not belong in brownies. You know what belongs in brownies? Sugar and lots and lots of *real* chocolate. That’s why the real thing tastes so good, and substitutes generally suck.

I also once tried a recipe that promised 35 calorie brownies. It was essentially cocoa powder, water, and stevia mixed together and was the most f*cking disgusting thing I’ve ever made. The internet is lying when bloggers claim they “taste just like the real thing!”

The closest decent “healthy” brownie I’ve tasted have either subbed in silken tofu (don’t laugh) or pureed dates (think Lara Bar vibes) for about half of the unhealthy ingredients, which can taste decent if you also add a lot of melted chocolate and sugar…but at that point, you’re delusional if you’re still calling it healthy.

Every basic high schooler’s beloved Ghirardelli’s brownie mix wins out ultimately, or by all means, try some fancy French recipe if you’re extra. If gluten scares you (or if you’re actually—like actually—celiac) then sub in some other grain because you won’t really taste the difference, but it’s not going be particularly healthy…which is why it will taste amazing. So live life and chill TF out.

Sugar-Free Chocolate

Some company has been apparently trying to invent zero calorie chocolate for ages but I expect that zero calorie chocolate will come into existence when cars fly (IDK how technology is coming, though, so maybe that’s sooner rather than later). However, there’s an actually brilliant brand of zero sugar chocolate that doesn’t taste fake. As long as you’re not weirded out by sugar alcohols, I highly recommend Lily’s Chocolate (this isn’t an ad—I’m simply addicted to their chocolate). Their salted almond bar, puffed rice bar, and dark chocolate chips are all fire. Plus, all their dark chocolate is dairy free/vegan which is great if you’re me. And they sell it at Whole Foods.

Chocolate Mousse

…with silken tofu. Before you roll your eyes because ewww tofu, it’s literally tasteless and a great thickener. You literally just blend some silken tofu in a blender, add some cocoa powder and melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt, then maybe a little stevia or sugar, and you’re golden. It’s soooo good and so low cal.

Chocolate Granola/Protein Bars

Originally I wanted to write an article solely about protein bars but then I realized that most of them suck so that would be a pretty depressing conclusion…

Most protein bars taste like absolute sawdust. I’m not exaggerating. You bite into something that looks like a candy bar and you receive a mouthful of sickly sweet chewy sawdust. And worse, it actually, like, pea protein congealed into a bar and covered in fake chocolate. Yummy.

The tastiest (but not particularly healthy) granola bar is probably a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar. First I thought they tasted a little too processed. Then I accidentally left one in my car and it melted into a consistency of a warmed chocolate chip cookie, which was pretty amazing. So try microwaving them for like, 20 seconds and you’re golden. However, they also have a lot of sugar and aren’t like, the healthiest, so boo.

In terms of actual protein bars, NuGo Slim Bars taste about half as good but have like, three times as much protein and about 80 fewer calories than Clif Bars. So they’re a pretty good chocolatey snack if you’re a hardo.

The rest sucked and I genuinely don’t understand how protein bar companies stay in business.

Some Deep Final Thoughts

In conclusion, all of these desserts are pretty decent. But nothing will ever compare to a giant slab of chocolate Texas sheet cake. Or a chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme donut. Or a giant Levain chocolate chip cookie. If you don’t know what any of these things are, I recommend turning to Google to rectify this situation ASAP.

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