When we think about losing belly fat, most of us believe that chocolate is a big no-no.
There is a lot of merit to this view as most chocolate products are rich in sugar, high in empty calories, and are generally not the most nutritious items you can find.
However, dark chocolate does have some surprising health benefits that make it into a real super-food that you can feel good about eating, in moderation, even if you’re trying to lose belly fat.
Before we get started in listing the various ways in which Dark Chocolate is healthy, let’s define what constitutes a high quality dark chocolate for this article.
The basic problem with most chocolates is the high sugar content. This doesn’t come from the cocoa which actually gives chocolate its name but from the added sugar manufacturers put into it to make it sweeter.
To avoid it, you need to stick to chocolates which are made of 70% cocoa at the very least. At 70% or slightly higher, you will still feel the sweetness of the chocolate but it will be with much less sugar in it. I go for even higher cocoa content, at about 85%, and that is bitter and may be too much for most people, but I found that I enjoy this kind of chocolate. You can stick to 70% and still feel good about yourself.
Let’s be clear, you can’t stuff yourself silly with chocolate, dark or otherwise. However, you can enjoy a small bar once in a while. If you’re doing everything else right, you should have no trouble getting flat abs.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
The first benefit I want to mention is psychological, not physical, and it has to do with how hard it can become to maintain a weight loss diet. Most diets tend to be pretty depriving. They don’t really let you eat any “fattening” food and they tend to be pretty general about it.
Not being able to give yourself a treat every once in a while can become depressing and may lead you to sabotage your own weight loss efforts. I see no need to be so strict when it’s perfectly all right to indulge your sweet tooth with a bar of high quality dark chocolate. It can help you stay the course of your fat loss process and keep you focused on your goals.
The cocoa beans in chocolate contain many flavonoids, powerful antioxidants which do battle against the free radicals that roam inside your body.
Free radicals are destructive molecules that attack your cells and are a leading cause in rapid aging. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants sources such as dark chocolate, goji berries, and other fruit and vegetables, helps to delay the aging process and keep your body healthier.
However, research shows that eating your chocolate with milk may reduce this beneficial effect. The milk may be making it more difficult for the body to absorb the antioxidants in cocoa. This makes milk chocolate a much less healthy thing to eat than dark chocolate.
This may seem like a psychological benefit, but as stress has been linked to increased belly fat, if you’re looking to lose stomach fat, you’d do well to lower the stress in your life in any way you can.
Dark chocolate may help you do that. It seems that this kind of chocolate has a soothing effect on the body and may help you deal better with the tensions of life. Naturally, this all depends on you eating this in moderation. You don’t have a license to stuff yourself silly.
Cocoa contains stearic acid, a substance that can help slow down the digestive process and help you remain fuller for longer. In regular chocolates, this effect is ruined by the high sugar contents.
Lowers blood pressure
Cocoa phenols, which are naturally abdundant in dark chocolate, can help you lower blood pressue. Again, this is only if you eat in moderation and only if you lead an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Chocolate is not a medicine, it’s just one more element which can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
In conclusion, if you have a sweet tooth, a little dark chocolate (70% and upwards) once in a while won’t hurt you. It can actually help you be healthier.