If you’re trying to lose weight, chocolate probably isn’t the first food you head toward. Nevertheless, in a recent “favorite snacks” poll conducted by Yahoo Health, 23% of respondents admitted to having a weakness for candy. Out of that 23%, 21% said it’s particularly chocolate that they’ve got a craving for most of the time.
Chocolate gets a bad wrap, overall. From high saturated fat, to loads of calories, nutritionists warn us to stay away from the sweet delicacies to protect our health. However, what you don’t often hear about are the health benefits associated with chocolate. For example:
- A 2008 study found that people who ate a small amount of dark chocolate a day (about 6.7 grams) had lower levels of a protein that is associated with inflammation in their blood.
- Other recent studies have found that blood platelet clump together more slowly in chocolate eaters. Clumping platelets can lead to the formation of blood clots, which in turn can cause a heart attack. Chocolate consumption may lower blood pressure, help prevent the formation of artery plaques and improve blood flow, according to other research.
- Eating chocolate may even help with math or at least counting. A study reported in 2009 showed that people did a better job of counting backward in groups of three after they had consumed a hot cocoa drink containing large amounts of a compound found in chocolate. These compounds, called flavonoids, which we’ll get to later, may increase blood flow to the brain.
- Chocolate may also have anti-cancer benefits because flavonoids may help reduce the cell damage that can spur tumor growth.
So while eating chocolate every day and in large quantities may not be good for your health, it’s still okay to indulge once in a while. In fact, if you’ve got a craving for a great chocolate treat, try chocolate dipped pretzels and other goodies from Pretty Sweet Pretzels. My wife, Jill Mittleman, carefully hand dips each pretzel rod with a coating of rich milk chocolate and creamy caramel. She then adds an assortment of other toppings of your choosing, including Classic Toffee & Mini Chip, Festive M&M or Simply Oreo. Pretty Sweet Pretzels also sells hand-dipped Granny Smith Apples, which are also dipped in a thick layer of creamy caramel and rich milk chocolate, and then decorated with your favorite toppings of Classic Toffee & Mini Chip, Festive M&M™, Simply Oreo™, Sweet and Salty Sour Dough, Marshmallow Orb, or Deep Dark Mini Chip. Try one of these delectable treats today and reap the health benefits that chocolate can provide.