Do you like chocolate? Your answer was probably yes, but did you know chocolate can be a player in a heart-healthy diet? Celebrate International Chocolate Day by learning how dark chocolate can have a big impact on keeping your heart healthy. Who said you can’t have your chocolate and eat it too?
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (with at least 65% polyphenol-rich cocoa) has long been advocated for its beneficial effects on your cardiovascular system. These benefits occur because the cocoa bean is rich in plant nutrients, called flavonoids. A variety of fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, including cranberries, apples, peanuts, tea and even red wine. The main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate are flavonols, which have antibiotic properties; And with less processing and sugar than other types of chocolates, dark chocolate in moderation has been found to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and clotting, as well as lower one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke over time. A study conducted by the British Medical Journal, found that higher chocolate consumption was linked with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in strokes.
While chocolate does offer a number of health benefits, it is important to understand that candy bars loaded with sugars and other sweets, such as caramel and marshmallows, are not going to offer the same healthy benefits as organic dark chocolate. Look for chocolates that list cocoa solids as the main ingredient and avoid those primarily made of sugar. 1-2 ounces a week of 65% cocoa is the goal to receive health help from your chocolate treats.
Although chocolate has been found to offer a number cardiovascular health benefits, over-indulgence of anything is never a good idea. However, a little dark chocolate a week will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but your heart will thank you! So celebrate International Chocolate Day right and enjoy the health benefits that come with it. For more ways to help protect your health or for a free quote, just call us at 724-929-2300. Our friendly, expert staff would be happy to help.