Give your Valentine the heart-healthy gift of dark chocolate this weekend, and make sure to treat yourself to some too! Dark chocolate has been identified as a “super-food” for good reason – and the key is in the cocoa. Look for chocolate that contains at least 70%, as that’s where the cardiovascular benefits are found.
Here are Dr. Kaplan’s Top 5 Benefits to Eating Dark Chocolate:
- The cocoa in dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that fight dangerous free radicals in your body, in other words, the more cocoa the better!
- The plant-derived flavanols in dark chocolate have been show to reduce blood pressure;
- Dark chocolate increases the elasticity of the blood vessels;
- Dark chocolate has anti-inflammtory compounds which can reduce inflammation of cardiovascular tissue; and
- Reduces LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
In sum, including small amounts of dark chocolate in your diet – not more than 1.5 – 3 oz. per day – can help in reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But keep in mind, although dark chocolate is good for you, the best diet is a balanced diet, so make sure you’re also eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Watch Dr. Kaplan on NBC News 4 Midday with Barbara Harrison, discuss the health benefits of dark chocolate: