11. Dark chocolate (yes, EVERY day!)
Believe it or not, dark chocolate is a superfood—and not just because it tastes super delicious. Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids, which act as antioxidants, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavanols, which can help improve memory and overall cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain. The flavonoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate help reverse the damage caused by free radicals, which is linked to aging and chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies have confirmed that eating dark chocolate can significantly lower your risk of heart disease; considering heart disease is the number one cause of death around the world, that’s a pretty big deal. Dark chocolate also seems to lower the risk of stroke. The cocoa butter in dark chocolate contains oleic acid, the same heart-healthy unsaturated fat found in olive oil. This healthy fat can raise your good cholesterol. The fatty acids in dark chocolate also have a positive effect on mood; eating chocolate really does make you happier.
Remember that we’re talking about dark chocolate here. You want to go for dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa. Avoid chocolate with unnecessary, added ingredients like milk, trans fat, artificial flavoring, and excess sugar. Also keep in mind that even healthy, dark chocolate contains calories, fat, and sugar, so you don’t want to go overboard. Nevertheless, eating a small piece of dark chocolate every day is a great way to treat yourself to a not-so-guilty pleasure.