From the Heart, For the Heart

//From the Heart, For the Heart

From the Heart, For the Heart

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:

  1. 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!
  2. The plant-derived flavanols in dark chocolate have been show to reduce blood pressure;
  3. Dark chocolate increases the elasticity of the blood vessels;
  4. Dark chocolate has anti-inflammtory compounds which can reduce inflammation of cardiovascular tissue; and
  5. 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:

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About the Author:

Gary Kaplan, DO
Gary Kaplan, D.O. is the founder and medical director of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine and author of Total Recovery: A Revolutionary New Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Pain and Depression. A pioneer and leader in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Kaplan is one of only 19 physicians in the country to be board-certified in both Family Medicine and Pain Medicine. Dr. Kaplan is a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and serves on the Advisory Committee to Health and Human Services for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. To read Dr. Kaplan's complete bio, click here.