Never feel guilty about those chocolate-covered pretzels again—just make sure they're dipped in dark chocolate, OK?

By Alyssa Sparacino

Wanna know the truth about chocolate? Not all kinds of chocolate are created equal. Dark chocolate is the reigning champion of the sweet treats due to its numerous health benefits packed into the one tiny cocoa bean, but there are still some awesome benefits to go around in the entire chocolate family. Here, we break down why chocolate is so good for you and just so good-period.

1. It's loaded with antioxidants

The antioxidants in chocolate enhance memory and cognition and reduce your risk of dementia. In fact, one study found that eating chocolate improved short-term memory retention in healthy adults, so there's your excuse to grab a candy bar before that important meeting.

2. It can help you maintain a healthy weight

One study found that cocoa extract actually helped block the enzymes that are responsible for the body's digestion of fats and carbohydrates. So if you're already eating a healthy, relatively low-calorie diet, chocolate might just help you maintain (or even lose) weight. Heck yes!

3. Dark chocolate makes your heart healthier.

Studies show that dark chocolate (which contains more of the good-for-you naturally occurring flavonoids than milk chocolate) can actually lower your blood pressure while simultaneously raising your level of HDL-the good kind of cholesterol. One study out of Jordan found that the more dark chocolate people ate, the lower their blood pressure was as a result.

4. It curbs cravings

This might sound too good to be true, but eating a small amount of chocolate every day (Yes, we're telling you it's more than OK to have a small piece of dark chocolate every. single. day.) can actually decrease your cravings for other sweet stuff-and even salty snacks, too.

5. It might make your smarter

Truthfully, the jury is still out on this correlation, but this fun chocolate-y fact might convince you: Countries with the highest per capita chocolate consumption are also the countries with the most Nobel Prize winners! Pretty cool, right?

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