When it comes to foods that make women feel guilty, chocolate is probably top of the list. We crave it, we eat it, and we often feel bad afterwards. Then because we feel bad, we eat more – oops!

But what if we told you that you can eat chocolate every damn day without needing to feel guilty? Here are 5 reasons why chocolate is perfectly acceptable to enjoy on a regular basis.

Just a small bit

Chocolate is full of vital nutrients

Ok, so the nutrition can depend on the type of chocolate you’re picking up. But if you go for one that is at least 60% cocoa, you’re on track. Cocoa-rich chocolate is an excellent source of minerals including magnesium, copper and iron.

It also is a good source of fibre, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. So the next time someone judges you for your chocolate consumption, tell them it’s your daily multivitamin!

Chocolate can boost your mood

Anything that can make you feel better is good for you. And chocolate seems to be designed to make us happier!

Eating chocolate can support the production of feel-good brain chemicals. It also contains caffeine and theobromine, which give the body and nervous system a little boost. And of course, eating chocolate is enjoyable and pleasurable, which can make you feel better.

Consuming chocolate is associated with reduced stress, improvement in mood and overall wellbeing. So embrace your daily chocolate habit as a mental health strategy!

Chocolate isn’t the weight-gain devil we’ve been told

Sure, if you’re eating super-sugary chocolate by the kilo, your weight might creep up. But overall, consuming chocolate does not spell weight gain. In fact, cocoa-rich chocolate might even help to maintain a healthy weight.

Research has found that people who consume chocolate on a frequent basis have a lower BMI than those who eat it less often. It can even help you lose weight quicker if you are on a diet!

How does chocolate do this? It’s probably a mix of factors. Cocoa is thought to reduce appetite, make you feel fuller and boost your metabolism. If you are following a low-calorie diet, having a bit of chocolate makes you feel less restricted.

Want to use chocolate as a weight-loss tool? You’ll want to go for 70% cocoa content or higher.

Chocolate protects your heart

If you have a family history of heart problems, chocolate is more than just a treat. It can be a tasty option for protecting your heart health!

The antioxidants in chocolate can improve blood flow and pressure naturally. Chocolate can also be good for balancing out cholesterol levels. Improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

Having a little chocolate each day is a delicious and enjoyable way to protect your heart health.

Chocolate is part of a balanced diet

At the end of the day, food being healthy is all well and good. But food is about more than just nutrients and kilojoules that fuel the body. Food is part of our social interactions, our culture and even our emotional health.

So if you feel happier and healthier when you have chocolate daily, go for it! Your body probably knows better than you do.

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This post was written by our health writer Sam Gemmell.

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