Chocolate and Your Heart

Valentine’s day is coming up and I know I will be indulging in a little bit of chocolate so I thought it would be a good time to discuss the heart benefits of chocolate and which kind of chocolate is best.

Why is chocolate heart healthy?

The cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids, particularly flavonols, which are compounds found in plants that help protect the plants and repair damage from the environment. Flavonols work as antioxidants neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation in our bodies. Cocoa and chocolate have been found to reduce inflammation and decrease blood pressure, both important for good cardiovascular health.

However, you have to be careful with choosing your chocolate. Commercially prepared chocolate can have lots of sugar, fat and added calories making it not so beneficial to your heart. So choose carefully and consume in moderation.

What kind of chocolate should I buy?

Dark chocolate contains more cocoa and in general provides more flavonols and less sugar than milk chocolate making it a better choice. Choose a plain dark chocolate that is not full of extra things like caramel, marshmallows or other sugary filling. I love Dove dark chocolates :) You can also buy pure unsweetened cocoa powder that is not alkalized to add some chocolate flavor and flavonols to your recipes.

Have a happy valentines day and don’t forget to share a little dark chocolate with your valentine for heart health!

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