Dying for an excuse to satisfy that chocolate craving? Having trouble kicking that sweet tooth? Or just can't get through a day without your chocolate fix?
We have some good news: you can give in.
Organic dark chocolate actually has numerous health benefits. We've listed 5 here, just in case you needed another reason to eat the good stuff.
1. Organic Dark Chocolate Can Help With Weight Management
Yes, you read that correctly.
Incorporating dark chocolate into your daily diet routine can help you see the results you're looking for.
Neuroscientist Will Clower's study found that eating a small square of dark chocolate 20 minutes before and 5 minutes after meals helps curb appetite by 50 percent.
This is primarily because it slows the absorption of sugar in our bloodstream.
That being said, however, even organic dark chocolate is still loaded with calories and must be consumed in moderation.
2. Dark Chocolate is a Superfood
Tests have shown that cocoa contains copious amounts of antioxidants -- even more than Acai berries, which are renowned for their antioxidant powers.
So why exactly do we care about antioxidants in the first place?
Antioxidants help protect us from what are known as "free radicals" -- chemicals that can cause damage to our bodies. We take in these free radicals from breathing oxygen, making them unavoidable.
Foods are measured for the antioxidant content based on their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (or ORAC). Raw unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring foods that have been tested.
In fact, the antioxidant content of cocoa powder tested higher than that of all other superfruit powders.
An added bonus?
The antioxidants found in organic dark chocolate make it a potential cancer-fighting food.
Don't forget though, the higher percentage of cacao (cocoa) found in chocolate, the more antioxidant-packed it will be. Try to purchase chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao content.
3. Dark Chocolate Makes for Happy Hearts
Cocoa has a lot of flavanols, a group of antioxidants that help keep platelets less sticky. Therefore, increasing the flavanol content in your diet decreases the risk of a heart attack or stroke from blood clots.
Dark chocolate also lowers risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and improves heart health by improving your blood flow.
4. It Can Improve Brain Function
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, dark chocolate can make you smarter.
Amongst its other health benefits, organic dark chocolate lengthens attention span, improves reaction time, boosts memory, and enhances problem-solving abilities.
By increasing blood flow to your brain, particularly to the cerebral gray matter, which affects muscle control and sensory perception.
Its benefits don't stop there. Dark chocolate is beneficial for people with conditions that involve reduced cerebral blood flow like dementia and strokes.
It even makes Dr. Axe's list of 15 brain foods to help boost focus and memory.
5. Leads to Healthy Skin
So you're saying chocolate can help my skin shine with that youthful glow?
The flavanols found in chocolate also help your skin protect itself from UV damage.
Some studies have even found dark chocolate to improve skin hydration and thickness.
As if you needed more reasons to eat chocolate.