I don’t know about you, but I crave sweet treats. Unfortunately, my perimenopausal waistline doesn’t always appreciate my indulgences! I was delighted when I discovered the benefits of eating dark chocolate during the menopause!
Dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can offer a variety of nutritional benefits, including:
- Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.
- The flavonoids in dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation in the arteries.
- Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate may help to improve cholesterol levels.
- The antioxidants in dark chocolate may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and reducing the risk of blood clots.
- Some studies have suggested that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
- Dark chocolate contains compounds that can increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
How do dark and milk chocolate differ?
Which do you prefer, dark or milk chocolate? For me it’s dark chocolate all the way.
Dark chocolate is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, and may also contain additional ingredients such as vanilla and lecithin. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, includes the same ingredients as dark chocolate but also contains milk powder or condensed milk. Dark chocolate has a more intense and slightly bitter taste compared to milk chocolate, which is sweeter and creamier due to the addition of milk powder. Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which means it is higher in antioxidants and flavonoids than milk chocolate, it also typically has less sugar and fewer calories per serving than milk chocolate. On the other hand, milk chocolate contains more calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients from the added milk powder.
Overall, dark chocolate is considered a healthier choice compared to milk chocolate due to its higher antioxidant content and lower sugar content.
What kind of dark chocolate should I buy?
When buying dark chocolate, it’s important to look for high-quality chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids (70% or more). Look for dark chocolate that contains only a few simple ingredients, such as cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. Avoid those with added vegetable oils or other fillers. The higher the percentage, the more intense and bitter the chocolate will be, if you’re new to dark chocolate, start with a lower percentage and work your way up. I made the mistake of buying a bar with 100% cocoa solids… never again!
The benefits of eating dark chocolate during the menopause
- Improving mood: Menopause can cause changes in mood due to hormonal fluctuations. Dark chocolate contains compounds that can increase serotonin levels in the brain, which may improve mood.
- Reducing hot flashes: Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. A study published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that women who ate dark chocolate daily for two weeks experienced a reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
- Boosting heart health: Menopause can increase the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which have been shown to have a positive effect on cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure.
- Providing antioxidants: Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. This may help reduce the risk of age-related diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that dark chocolate is still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. It’s also important to choose high-quality, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids (70% or more) and avoid those with added sugar or other ingredients that can negate the potential benefits.
Do you like dark chocolate? I’d love to hear your brand recommendations. The chocolate shown in these photographs is Green and Blacks 85%. (Purchased and eaten quickly!)
Thank you for stopping by.
ps don’t forget that dark chocolate is especially harmful if consumed by our canine friends.
To learn about the benefits of walking click here.