Heart Healthy Chocolate?

chocolate covered coffee beansIf you love a little chocolate now and then but feel guilty when you’re consuming it – just hold on a sec. Chocolate CAN be good for you – yes there is a God. However, it all depends on the TYPE of chocolate and, of course, how much and how often it’s consumed. Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean, which happens to be rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant-based antioxidants that aid in repairing damage in the body’s tissues and fighting against environmental toxins. This doesn’t give license to gobble them all down – check the label. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the healthfulness of chocolate is determined by the amount of processing it goes through to reach its end product state and NOT necessarily by how dark it is, as was once thought. It also depends on the number and quantity of “extras” added to it (milk, sugar, caramel, nuts, marshmallow- well, you get the picture).

As a general rule the darker chocolate (say 70% or greater) AND the less processing = good chocolate, is better for you. Another concern with chocolate consumption is the fat content. Cocoa butter consists of three fats, one is similar to the fat in olive oil, which is good for your heart, one is a neutral fat (no effect on LDL or cholesterol) and the third is palmitic, which can raise your cholesterol. There is no “dose” determined for healthy serving sizes of good chocolate but moderation is always the key and sticking to about 1 ounce a few times a week. Then this good chocolate could be beneficial to your heart health. Now go ahead, and deal with that box of chocolates in the appropriate manner – guilt-free.


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Author: tammyjuco

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