Though all chocolates are often marked as a “guilty pleasure,” dark chocolate is far from an unhealthy indulgence. When chocolate is made of at least 70% cacao solids, it's considered dark chocolate and boasts a few health benefits. That’s why here at LivBar, we use cacao in our Maple Coffee Cacao LivBar for more than its great taste.
Loaded With Health Benefits
Did you know that dark chocolate provides needed nutrients including antioxidants and fiber? Other varieties of chocolate (like milk or white chocolate) take away these nutrients, found in cacao solids, to make room for more sugar, flavorings, fats, and milk. But a high quality dark chocolate simply shines as a food on its own, thanks to such high amounts of cacao and less of those fillers found in commercial chocolate candies.
The health benefits of dark chocolate and cacao is just one reason to celebrate dark chocolate. Cacao is simply the base of chocolate, which makes its known nutrients surprising to some. On its own or made into dark chocolate, cacao provides iron, magnesium, and zinc. Some studies suggest a link between regularly enjoying high quality dark chocolate and reduced risk of heart disease via lowered blood pressure. It also may reduce inflammation, strengthening the immune system. This is thanks to the high amounts of flavonoids (an antioxidant) in dark chocolate and cacao!
Other health benefits of dark chocolate include raising one’s HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) and lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff). Another study points to dark chocolate’s potential to lower one’s risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Consider enjoying up to one ounce of dark chocolate every day to reap some of these tasty benefits.
Healthy Cacao Recipes
There are several ways to incorporate cacao into your diet, starting with a couple of these cacao recipes.
- Simply eat a couple squares of dark chocolate on its own or with fresh fruit and crunchy nuts for a satisfying and healthy snack.
- Get cozy with one of our favorite recipes using dark chocolate and cacao: Superfood Maple Cacao Hot Chocolate.
- Homemade Cacao Espresso Cashew Spread
- Throw a tablespoon of cacao powder into our Berry Maca Smoothie
Get creative with cacao recipes! Use cacao powder for baking or more smoothies, or add crunchy cacao nibs to granola, oatmeal, or yogurt for a unique addition to your breakfast.
Finding A Balance
As tempting as it may be to devour an entire bar of dark chocolate, be sure to truly savor those bites and always keep things in moderation. Though dark chocolate is admired for these health benefits, any chocolate is still rich in calories and contains fat and sugar. If you prefer milk or white chocolate, save it for a special treat as it contains much more sugar and fat. That being said, we strongly suggest you switch over to the dark side!