It's almost Valentine's Day, and Americans show their love with chocolate. We are expected to buy an estimated 58,000,000 pounds of the sweet treats over the next week. We don't necessarily do it because it's healthy, but it just might be good for you.
Eating chocolate may be something you only do on holidays, but, dieticians are now saying you could do it every day. But before you sit down with a super-sized Snickers, or munch on a mound of M@M's. Let us explain. Real chocolate, made from cacao, contains flavanols, which are good for your heart, not just on Valentine's day.
"They prevent plaque build up. They lower blood pressure. They do all kinds of great things for our heart," said Baptist Health Dietician Ann Redwine.
Chocolate also contains antioxidants that prevent bad cholesterol from sticking to blood vessel walls. Dark chocolate is better because it has more cacao, and generally less sugar. And if you want to eat it every day, moderation is the key.
"The studies have shown that as little as 6 grams, which is about two of these, up to about 3 and a half ounces, which is about one of those bars, have been used in studies, and they all showed all those health benefits we talked about earlier. So in general now, we're saying 1 to 2 ounces a day," Redwine said.
If you're really looking for maximum health benefit, without the sugar, health experts recommend looking for dark chocolate bars with 65 percent or higher content of cacao.
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