Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year. That is over 11 pounds per person. Eleven! I want to enjoy my fair share, make up for lost time and not have any adverse side effects! It can be said that there is never too much chocolate!
Believe it or not, I was allergic to chocolate. When I was young, if I ate it, I would break out in an itchy, miserable rash. I could not eat it in ice cream, cake, brownies, or my all-time favorite of chocolate chips cookies. As I grew older, the symptoms lessoned and once I was out of college, I began reintroducing it back into my diet. Today, my favorite flavor is dark. I want to make up for all that I missed out on.
Did you know there are certain benefits to eating chocolate (in moderation)?
Benefits: (especially found in dark)
- Powerful source of antioxidants
- Raises HDL and protects LDL
- Improves blood flow
- Lowers blood pressure
Chocolate might also:
- Reduce heart disease risk
- Improve brain function
- Protect skin from the sun
Even though it has all these health benefits, there are also downsides to this delicious treat. This is where balance is important. It is high in sugar and saturated fat. It is a high energy and thus, high calorie food choice. Too much of this “good thing” can result in excess weight. As an example, to help moderate your intake, set out 3-4 dark chocolate covered blueberries, then put the package away. Sit down and really savor the flavors you are experiencing instead of grabbing many handfuls as you are multitasking.
Healthy eating is not about restrictions. It is about eating clean and having balance with the treats you add to your diet. I want to be aware and intentional about my chocolate eating habits. But my motto still stands, “There is never too much chocolate in life”.