Chocolate is regarded by many as the tastiest and most indulgent foods on earth. So today, I come bearing good news for all my fellow chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate (not the sugary crap) has so many benefits from a healthy heart, to decreased stress, and even weight loss. Once you get used to the taste of dark chocolate it will be extremely hard for you to go back to refined milk or white chocolate, trust me. The rich decadent taste is like no other.

There are a host of scientifically backed ways in which chocolate — good chocolate, which is to say dark chocolate, with a cocoa percentage of around 70% or more — is really good for us.

For starters, dark chocolate is an extremely powerful source of antioxidants. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity than other fruits they tested, including berries!

These disease fighting antioxidants lower blood pressure and help our blood vessels to relax. The benefits of dark chocolate in relation to health do not stop there; it also increases HDL (good) and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol in our blood. Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

For all our beauty enthusiasts, compounds in dark chocolate can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. If you are planning on soaking up the sun this summer, then eating chocolate alongside applying your SPF is great for double protection.

There is a reason why we crave sugary foods and chocolate while we are PMSing – chocolate releases calming endorphins that reduce anxiety. Plus, it’s high in magnesium which uplifts our mood and reduces water retention.

One point you need to be aware of is the type of dark chocolate you choose. Chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is not exactly a healthy food choice. These extra ingredients can add a lot of unnecessary fat and calories, cancelling out the beneficial effects of cocoa.

So don’t be afraid to load up on the dark chocolate, whether you choose to eat it for all the health benefits we mentioned, or simply just because of its awesome taste.