When it comes to healthy snacks, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Many of us turn to our favorite fruits and vegetables that are easy to find at the grocery store, whether it’s carrot sticks for an afternoon snack, an apple after breakfast or a handful of grapes when you need a snack after dinnertime but before bed. These standbys are great for taking the edge of off hunger and feeling good about your diets, but having the same thing day in and day out can get old and boring. The more we have the same thing, the more likely we are to have a bad day and binge on all of the fatty, highly processed foods that we are trying to avoid. By treating yourself to something really delicious as a part of your healthy diet, you are going to set yourself up for long-term success. Cacao is an incredible, healthy treat that you can indulge in to expand your snacking repertoire!
What makes it so excellent? When you can snack on chocolate that is mostly cacao, in moderation, you are taking in all kinds of healthy nutrients even as you enjoy indulging your sweet tooth. This tasty treat is the part of chocolate that you have always heard about being good for your heart because it is high in flavanols; it’s thought that flavanols can improve the nitric oxide levels in your blood. That’s good because nitric oxide has a hand in helping your blood vessels to function, reducing your blood pressure. By helping out your blood pressure, you are improving your chances of lowering the risk of heart failure, heart attacks, strokes and more. Not only is this tasty snack good for your blood, it may also be good for your brain and your mood.
Whether or not you choose to eat an occasional dark chocolate bar, nibble on nibs or drink an occasional mug of hot chocolate, this delicious deviation from your normal healthy snacks is only going to help your overall health and commitment to your diet. The trick is to find out your favorite ways to eat it and make sure to mix it in with your other snacks on a regular rotation. It should be a tasty diversion and not a fallback, since eating anything too often is going to get boring and can become unhealthy. Enjoy treating yourself!