Gone are the days of feeling guilty for taking that bite of delicious chocolate. Studies have shown that it actually can be beneficial to your health! Below are some reasons to give and receive this age old confection this Valentines’ Day without remorse!
Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate — not white chocolate —lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany in a published report in The Journal of the American Medical Association. But that’s no license to go on a chocolate
binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure — if you’ve reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.
Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate — but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk — is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues, according to an article they wrote for Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.
“Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate … and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”
Translation: Say “Dark, please,” when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don’t even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word “moderate” as you nibble.
What is it about dark chocolate?
What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols — cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure. Chocolates made in Europe are generally rich-er in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So if you’re going to try this at home, remember: Darker is better, and European Dark may be best.
And remember to balance the calories. A 100- gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple you’d only take in 52 calories.
Don’t replace healthy foods with chocolate. Most people’s diets have plenty of sweets. Switch those for some chocolate if you’re going to try the truffle treatment.