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5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate (as if You Needed Them)

Chocolate, how do we love thee? It’s easy to count the ways.

We’re not just talking about the fact that it’s more delicious than almost any other food. High-quality dark chocolate also comes with plenty of health benefits, meaning you can think of it as more than just a decadent dessert.

We probably won’t have to twist your arm to get you to eat chocolate, but here are a few reasons to pat yourself on the back when you do.

Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate

1. It’s an incredible source of antioxidants—polyphenols and flavanols, specifically—your body’s protectors. Antioxidants combat free radical damage that contributes to aging, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. (Want an even more concentrated source of flavanols? Try CocoaVia.)

RELATED: What Are Antioxidants, and How Do They Work?

2. It’s linked to stress-relief. Calm down, you’re getting too excited. But yes, it’s linked to higher levels of feel-good hormone serotonin and contains magnesium, which is linked to anxiety relief.

3. It comes in a heart-shaped box for a reason. Studies like this one have shown an association between eating more chocolate and a lower risk of heart disease.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Heart Health

4. It’s linked to lower blood pressure. Multiple studies show that a daily dose of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure (although the effect is modest).

5. It may help with weight loss. Some studies have suggested chocolate can reduce insulin resistance, and its healthy fats also slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing sugar spikes.

The key? Make sure the chocolate you choose is as dark as possible (70 percent cacao or higher preferably) and low in sugar. Then, limit your intake to a few small squares, since the calories can add up. We’re not talking about kale here, guys; we’re talking about conscious indulgences.

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