There is something refreshing about a brand new start to a whole new year. January first might be the beginning of something new and exciting as people everywhere have set resolutions to fulfill throughout the year. Some of the most popular resolutions to tackle are to pay off a debt, kick a nasty habit, spend more time with family and loved ones; But by far the most sought after new year resolutions revolves around bettering oneself mentally and physically.

Eating better, exercising more, and setting aside more "me time" are the three most popular New Year Resolutions according to The Telegraph ( It's no secret that dark chocolate is healthier for you, but what is considered dark enough? Is it eat-as-much-as-you-want kind of healthy? What are its benefits anyway? Let's take a look, chocolate lover to chocolate lover at what we should be learning to love in the candy case.

What percentage of dark chocolate is considered healthy?

70% and higher is the general rule of thumb.

How much is still considered healthy?

It stall can contain a lot of sugar which makes it fairly high in calories. In just 3.5 ounces of 70% you've got about 600 calories. It's best to spread out those ounces throughout the week and not indulge all at once.

What makes chocolate healthy?

Flavonals. These are the antioxidants that are found in plants that have been known to fight cancer, battle hearty disease, and potentially lower blood pressure. Flavonals exist in many healthy foods like almonds, blueberries, and spinach. The Sweet Granada has crafted a superfood bark that contains our Dramatically Dark Chocolate (72%) with slivered almonds, and dried blueberries. This has recently become one of my favorites, and it is considered one of the healthier options in the case (score)!

How do these flavonals work?

Well, antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to reduce and even reverse chronic inflammation throughout the body. When there is less inflammation the heart works better, improving blood flow which in turn lessens the risk of high blood pressure.

Chemicals, vitamins, and minerals oh my!

Dark chocolate contains fiber, copper, magnesium, and iron, just to name a few vitamins and minerals that mean the world to our working bodies. Chocolate also contains a chemical that could harden tooth enamel and improve skin complexion.

Chocolate makes us feel good, but why?

Back to the chemical thing...cocoa contains phenethylamine which encourages our brains to release dopamine, which is the "feel good" chemical. Just the smell of chocolate can increase theta brain waves. These specific brain wave patterns are the ones that are present right before we fall asleep, during a deep meditation, or just from a deep relaxations. These provide calming alertness like coffee does but without a crash. All of just the smell of chocolate!

Dark chocolate isn't for everyone, however when we slowly incorporate it into our chocolate consumption it could help our bodies out. It could keep our brains alert, reduce inflammation, and allow our hearts to work better. Cutting as much sugar out of your chocolate is the simplest way to reap the benefits. With blood flowing easier throughout our vessels we can feel better out our (not-so) guilty pleasure.