5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate

There’s no need to nix chocolate from your diet for good. When satisfying a sweet tooth, choosing dark chocolate can be a good decision for your health. In fact, here are five healthy reasons to eat dark chocolate.

    It helps you exercise longer: A recent study found that eating a tiny amount of dark chocolate before a workout helps fight fatigue, which means you can go that much further during your workout. The amount that worked in the study was tiny ¡ª just half a square ¡ª but if it’s good quality chocolate, a small square will go a long way.It’s stress relieving: And not just when you’re PMSing. A study found that when highly stressed participants ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate (the equivalent of a Hershey’s bar) a day for two weeks, the level of stress hormones in their bodies dropped significantly. While eating a candy bar a day can contribute to a whole new set of stresses if you’re watching your weight, it’s nice to know that dark chocolate has a measurable effect on stress levels.It’s heart-healthy: A study found that dark chocolate increases blood flow, which helps keep your ticker in top shape. Those who ate a small amount of chocolate a day had increased blood flow due to more-dilated blood vessels as well as better heart function.It’s good when you’re sick: If you can’t get the rest you need because of a nagging cough, try dark chocolate. The theobromine, an ingredient in dark chocolate, has been proven to suppress a cough, but just be careful ¡ª if you’re trying to go to sleep, remember that a dark chocolate Hershey’s bar has 30 milligrams of caffeine, which is the equivalent to a cup of tea.It lowers blood pressure: Increasing blood flow also helps your heart in another way. A study found that eating a small square of dark chocolate a day helps regulate your blood pressure by increasing blood flow as well as dilating blood vessels and releasing nitric oxide. If you’re managing your blood pressure levels, a daily, small dose of dark chocolate may help.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate

There’s no need to nix chocolate from your diet for good. When satisfying a sweet tooth| choosing dark chocolate can be a good decision for your health. In fact| here are five healthy reasons to eat dark chocolate.

    It helps you exercise longer: A recent study found that eating a tiny amount of dark chocolate before a workout helps fight fatigue| which means you can go that much further during your workout. The amount that worked in the study was tiny just half a square but if it’s good quality chocolate| a small square will go a long way.It’s stress relieving: And not just when you’re PMSing. A study found that when highly stressed participants ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate (the equivalent of a Hershey’s bar) a day for two weeks| the level of stress hormones in their bodies dropped significantly. While eating a candy bar a day can contribute to a whole new set of stresses if you’re watching your weight| it’s nice to know that dark chocolate has a measurable effect on stress levels.It’s heart-healthy: A study found that dark chocolate increases blood flow| which helps keep your ticker in top shape. Those who ate a small amount of chocolate a day had increased blood flow due to more-dilated blood vessels as well as better heart function.It’s good when you’re sick: If you can’t get the rest you need because of a nagging cough| try dark chocolate. The theobromine| an ingredient in dark chocolate| has been proven to suppress a cough| but just be careful ¡ª if you’re trying to go to sleep| remember that a dark chocolate Hershey’s bar has 30 milligrams of caffeine| which is the equivalent to a cup of tea.It lowers blood pressure: Increasing blood flow also helps your heart in another way. A study found that eating a small square of dark chocolate a day helps regulate your blood pressure by increasing blood flow as well as dilating blood vessels and releasing nitric oxide. If you’re managing your blood pressure levels| a daily| small dose of dark chocolate may help.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Make Your Vegan Valentine Happy With These Chocolate Desserts

Make Your Vegan Valentine Happy With These Chocolate Desserts

While giving up butter and milk can be an adjustment| vegans can still enjoy chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Typically| dark chocolate (comprising at least 65 percent cocoa) is vegan-friendly| because it does not contain milk powder. The higher-quality the chocolate| the more likely it will have pure ingredients and no additives. If you’re a vegan and in serious need of a chocolate fix| these recipes are our valentine to you.

Source: Lizzie Fuhr

u2014 Additional reporting by Jenny Sugar

| PB Kiss Cookies

Made with homemade dairy-free chocolate kisses for an extraspecial flair| these dairy-free peanut butter kiss cookies will not disappoint.

| Vegan Samoas

Whether you know them as Samoas or Caramel deLites| these once-a-year treats are off limits if you’re following a vegan diet. Luckily| these vegan Samoas are lower in carbs| calories| and sugar than their store-bought counterpart.

| Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

These chewy and tasty brownie bites have the flavor and texture you’re craving with an extra dose of protein. Each 124-calorie bite offers 5.1 grams of essential protein.

| Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

A chocolate chip cookie cake topped with homemade icing will delight both vegans and nonvegans.

| Nutty Clusters

This quick and easy recipe for Paleo dark chocolate nut clusters is gluten-free and vegan-friendly!

| Raw Chocolate Pudding

This “”milk””-chocolate pudding recipe from chef Matthew Kenny is raw| easy to make| and full of healthy fats! Watch the video recipe to learn how to create it in your own healthy kitchen.

| Magic Cookie Bars

You’ll be forever grateful that these coconut chocolate magic bars exist. They’re one of our favorite vegan sweet treats.

| Vegan Cocoa

Whether lactose-intolerant| vegan| or cutting back on dairy| here’s a hot chocolate that everyone will enjoy. The recipe is simple to put together| and the added cinnamon brings a new depth of flavor to the nostalgic beverage.

| Chocolate Cupcakes

This picture of vegan chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and raspberry glaze from Oh She Glows looks pretty enough to eat right off the screen.

| Chocolate Mousse Pie

Double the pleasure by serving up this double dark chocolate mousse pie from Healthy Happy Life.

| Thin Mints

If Girl Scout Thin Mints were once your favorite treat| substitute that green box with our homemade vegan thin mint cookies.

| Three-Ingredient Pie

With just a few quick steps| you can create an easy chocolate pie that’s fit for any Valentine’s celebration. The sweetest part of the deal is that it’s less than 150 calories per serving.

| Chocolate Pudding Cake

Indulge in a slice of chocolate coconut banana pudding cake topped off with some dairy-free ice cream.

| Peanut Butter Chocolate Blizzard

This Dairy Queen-inspired peanut butter chocolate crunch blizzard is a chocolate lover’s dream.

| Bon Bons

Raw bon bons are a refreshing way to enjoy some chocolate.

| S’Mores Ice Cream Sammies

Channel a Summer campfire with a batch of s’mores ice cream sandwiches.

| Vegan Tagalongs

If Girl Scout cookie season has got you feeling left out| you’ll definitely want to try this recipe for vegan peanut butter patties that you’ve got to taste to believe.

| No-Bake Cookies

If you’re in need of a last-minute fix| these no-bake chocolate cookies are both delicious and easy to put together.

| Baby Almond Joys

If you’re craving an Almond Joy or Mounds bar| curb it with this vegan-approved treat: bite-sized baby Almond Joys. Make sure to use dark chocolate or vegan milk chocolate when making this recipe!

| Banana Chocolate Bars

Banana and chocolate is one of the best combinations out there. Enjoy the combo in these banana chocolate almond squares.

| Truffles

Vegan truffles from the Healthful Pursuit are the perfect dessert to gift or cook up for your own enjoyment.

| Fruit-Filled Fudgesicles

Homemade vegan fudgesicles are filled with strawberries u2014 the perfect complement to the chocolatey goodness. Each one is under 80 calories.

| Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Crisp Balls

Your taste buds will thank you when you pop these chocolate-dipped peanut butter crisp balls in your mouth for a fiber-filled sweet. It’s hard to believe that one serving has less than 200 calories.

| Chocolate Mousse Cups

Nobody will guess that these chocolate mousse cups are made with silken tofu instead of eggs and cream and are also naturally sweetened with dates instead of white sugar. This dessert is guilt-free.

| No-Bake Vegan Brownies

These no-bake vegan brownies require no oven| and even better u2014 each brownie has almost two grams of protein and fiber.

| Ice Cream Sandwiches

A soft| fudgy ice cream sandwich is just what we need. This recipe contains no cholesterol| so snack on this treat without shame.

| Almond-Crusted Chocolate Bananas

Before your workout| snack on these almond-coconut-crusted chocolate bananas for a fueling treat.

| Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Avocado lends a creamy texture to these moist chocolate cupcakes| which will be instantly beloved by vegans and nonvegans alike!

| Nut-Free Chocolate Sunbutter Cups

Whether you’ve got a nut allergy or simply want to try something new| these sunflower-seed butter cups will be a welcome change from their peanut-butter counterparts.

| Vegan Chocolate-Mousse-Filled Strawberries

Why spend the money (and the calories) on chocolate-dipped strawberries when you can make something better? These fruity chocolate mousse cups are a crowd-pleaser that you’ll enjoy preparing.

| Vegan Chocolate Fruit Dip

Dubbed “”chocolate hummus“” because of its secret ingredient (chickpeas)| this dip is perfect when paired with juicy strawberries.

| Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

You only need two ingredients to make this perfectly sweet chocolate ice cream| so why haven’t you tried it yet?

| Vegan Snickers

No need to swear off your favorite chocolate candy if you’ve gone vegan u2014 you just need to become a little creative in the kitchen. These vegan Snickers taste better than the real thing and are healthier too.