Dark Chocolate has gotten a lot of attention because it’s believed to help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being is that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavanoids.
It has been proven that flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins, help repair damage and can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and veggies. Foods which contain flavanoids, can be beneficial because of their antioxidant power.
Flavanoids are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
Are all types of chocolate healthy?
It’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce this taste. The more chocolate is processed the more flavanols are lost.
Be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories. Second, there is currently no established serving size of chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. However, we do know that you no longer need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.
So, for now, enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.