Dr. Sharolyn Dihigo, DNP, RN, CPNP // Dec 10, 2017

If you haven’t heard, there are health benefits to eating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate can improve your mood, improve visual attention, and even lower blood pressure a few points. Now, we aren’t talking about the sugar laden milk chocolate. These studies refer to dark chocolate with medium to high cocoa flavanols.

You see, not all chocolate is created equal. Milk chocolate has very few flavonoids while dark chocolate has the greatest amount. White chocolate contains no flavonoids. One to two ounces of dark chocolate can have heart healthy benefits, but the amount of sugar and calories must also be taken into account.

Cocao powder, not to be confused with cocoa powder, can add the healthy antioxidant properties without the calorie concerns. Cocao powder comes from a cold pressed, unroasted cocoa bean where cocoa powder comes from a roasted bean. Roasting changes the molecular structure and much of the health benefits are lost. Cocao powder can be added as a substitute to cocoa powder; however, you will use a smaller amount. Cocao powder can be used in hot chocolate, chocolate milk, baking, smoothies, or anywhere you would like a boost of chocolate flavor.

If chocolate boosts your mood, then it’s definitely great for menopause! Chocolate’s mood boosting properties have been studied and may increase serotonin levels which help fight off depression and lift brain fog. Just remember, the health benefits of dark chocolate are impressive, but one must keep in mind - All things in moderation.

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