With Easter right around the corner, I hope you can enjoy a taste of chocolate. Because chocolate can be good for you.
Still, many of us can’t help being concerned about how something so sweet might adversely affect our health. Many chocolate lovers, even those at risk of developing type II diabetes or hypertension, now can legitimately indulge in this culinary pleasure.
A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tested dark and white chocolate's effects on healthy adults to determine whether either type affected blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
They concluded that dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and insulin resistance. White chocolate did not provide these health benefits.
Dark chocolate's benefits are due to flavanols, antioxidant compounds, also found in many fruits and vegetables, which lower risk of heart disease.
Flavonols make dark chocolate — in moderation — a great solution to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Although dark chocolate has health benefits, most chocolate bars are high in saturated fat, so moderation is key.
In addition, eating dark chocolate cannot substitute for everyday healthy food choices. Nor can chocolate replace regular exercise or medications prescribed by your physician.
Still, isn't it nice to know you can indulge in your chocolate cravings every so often without feeling guilty about it?
Haley Worley is an agent at the University of Florida's Extension office in Crestview.