I have a sweet tooth. I love candy and sweet pastries. As a result, it’s difficult for me to stay away from the junk food sometimes.
However, there are some treats that really aren’t that bad for you — as long as you remember to use them in moderation.
When I found out that dark chocolate might actually be good for me, it was a happy day. Dark chocolate has anti-oxidants, and studies indicate that it could lead to lower risk of heart disease and other problems.
However, you can’t just have whatever chocolate you want in mass quantities. First of all, the health benefits only come from dark chocolate. Milk chocolate — which has been processed with a great deal of sugar to make it sweeter — isn’t the same.
Experts suggest that you keep your dark chocolate intake to between 5 grams and 20 grams for benefits, and as part of a diet that is health overall. You need to choose dark chocolate that is at least 60% cocoa.
This is easy for me to do, since I love dark chocolate, and this is just about right for a day’s treat.
Do you want something while you enjoy your movie? Go ahead and have some popcorn. Some studies indicate that popcorn (particularly the husks, not the fluffy white part) can actually fight disease. As with dark chocolate, popcorn has anti-oxidants.
Popcorn isn’t very processed, and it’s a whole grain, so you can feel pretty good about enjoying a few handfuls, since you’ll get a good amount of fiber.
However, as you might expect, many of the health benefits that popcorn might have can be offset by the things you put on the popcorn. When you drench your popcorn in butter, and add a lot of salt, you could be causing more problems. Instead, sprinkle a little bit of salt on your popcorn (I also like to add pepper), or season it with your favorite herbs. A small amount of butter, in conjunction with a mostly healthy diet, isn’t the end of the world, either. Enjoy in moderation, and you are likely to reap some health benefits while enjoying a tasty snack.
While I’m not a drinker, I know plenty of people who enjoy a little alcoholic beverage on occasion. When you consume alcohol in moderation, you can reduce the risk of stroke, as well as keep down gallstones and even prevent diabetes.
Many people like to have a glass of wine with dinner, and as long as it’s a moderate glass, you probably won’t run into any serious problems. Even other alcoholic beverages might have some health benefits. But you have to be careful. It’s all too easy to cross the line from moderation and into drinking too much. You might be surprised at how little a “moderate” amount really is.
The key is moderation. You can’t eat butter-laden popcorn with every movie you watch and eat multiple candy bars a day (even if they are made from dark chocolate) and expect to maintain good health. Likewise, you can’t go on drinking binges and expect to avoid health problems.
As long as you are careful, and have a lifestyle that is healthy overall, it’s possible to enjoy some of your favorite treats.