Whether you prefer milk or dark, you might be wondering if there are any health benefits to indulging in that chocolate fix.

The good news is, several studies show the link between cacao in chocolate and better health. Another benefit? Antioxidants in certain types of chocolate can be good for your skin. Here are five ways chocolate is good for you…so you don’t have feel guilty about your chocolate indulgence ever again.

#1: Could Be Good for Your Heart

Because dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, it could help to protect your heart. Researchers have been studying the effects of flavanols and heart health, recommending that we choose foods that contain flavanols  Chocolate ranks high on that list so your excuse for eating more chocolate could be simply to keep your heart healthy.

#2: Can Protect Skin From UV Damage

You might be able to ward off the signs of aging and protect your skin from skin cancer with your diet. Some researchers are suggesting that chocolate’s high levels of antioxidants can protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. One study suggests that eating chocolate rich in flavanols (i.e. dark chocolate) can protect the skin from UV light damage. 

#3: Chocolate Can Lower Cholesterol

Researchers have found that eating dark chocolate and cocoa can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol in people who are overweight and obese. While more studies are needed to confirm a link between chocolate and cholesterol, eating a few almonds with dark chocolate can be a healthy snack regardless of your weight.

#4: Can Reduce Risk of Diabetes

As long as it’s lower in sugar (think 70% cocoa or higher), the flavanols in chocolate can keep your blood sugar levels in check. This is great news for anyone who’s at risk for diabetes or worried about blood sugar. The higher the cacao content, the healthier the chocolate. 

#5: Helps Keep Cravings in Check

If you always tend to reach for sweets and frequently have cravings for chocolate, eating very dark chocolate could keep those cravings at bay. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that people reduced their calorie intake by as much as 15 percent when they consumed dark chocolate before a meal. Plus, chocolate contains fiber which can fill you up, acting as a natural appetite suppressant

We think it’s fair to say chocolate has a place in our diet and there are several health benefits to enjoy with the occasional indulgence. Reaching for the darker varieties is the key to getting some of those health and skin benefits. 

Is chocolate part of your diet? Share in the comments below!

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