Apparently, I’ve had the right idea.
First off, chocolate is really good for you. But not just any chocolate (so don’t be so quick to grab that childhood favourite milk chocolate bar). It should be dark chocolate, containing 50% to 100% cacao. Most dark chocolate bars contain 70%, 85% or 90% cacao. Generally speaking, the higher the cacao percentage, the better the health benefits.
Dark chocolate is naturally high in iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. These minerals are important for making red blood cells, promoting bone health and activating certain enzymes in the body. Chocolate is also extremely high in antioxidants and rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are known to support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure, offer protection against neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and provide excellent anti-inflammatory benefits.
As far as the best timing to eat it, a few years ago, researchers in Tel Aviv University have concluded that specifically eating chocolate early in the day can be effective in helping you not just lose weight, but also sustain the loss. Why? Because good quality dark chocolate boosts your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, making you feel full and helping reduce your sugar cravings throughout the day.
Another study in Syracuse University showed that eating dark chocolate early in the day also does wonders for your brain. Why? Because when you wake up, your brain needs energy immediately and as the flavonoids increase blood flow to the brain promoting good memory, rational thinking and overall better neural function, a 'chocolate shot' early in the day has an efficient way of providing that energy really quickly.
So, go ahead, eat chocolate. No need to refrain from it while trying to lose weight. But, enjoy it in the morning. Make sure to choose 70% cacao or higher. And, moderation is key. A reasonable daily portion size of dark chocolate should be approximately 20g – this would be around 4 small or two large squares of a 100g bar.