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Indulge Wisely

  • By Pip Taylor
  • Published Feb 15, 2012
  • Updated Feb 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM UTC


Research findings sometimes give people an excuse to indulge in things they should really consume in moderation, such as chocolate, red meat and alcohol. These items may indeed have health-promoting properties, but there are valid reasons they also come with a cautionary footnote. Here’s how you can have your (chocolate) cake and be healthy, too.

CHOCOLATE

The bad news: Processed chocolate can contain a lot of sugar, oils, fats, artificial flavors and preservatives—a candy bar is nowhere in the same nutritional class as pure cocoa.

The good news: The cocoa bean is a rich source of antioxidants, flavonoids (which help reduce muscle soreness after intense workouts), nitrates (which increase blood flow and lower blood pressure), vitamins and essential minerals. Chocolate can also be a powerful mood booster by stimulating the release of endorphins and raising serotonin levels.

How to indulge: The best choices are natural unsweetened cocoa powder (hot chocolate, anyone?) or antioxidant-rich high-quality dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa (70-plus percent). Limit yourself to one or two squares per day.

RELATED: The Sweet Benefits Of Chocolate

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FILED UNDER: Nutrition

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