All We Need Is Love – and Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is just barely behind us, which means you just might have a box of chocolates you’ve been eyeballing every time you look in the pantry or fridge. You don’t want to toss out the evidence of someone’s affection for you, but you don’t want to ruin your health by indulging in such a daring delectable. Well, we have some good news! Science suggests that a little chocolate here and there is good for the heart!

Everything In Moderation

Just like you can overdo the health benefits of wine by consuming more than the small glass with dinner, it is possible to eat so much chocolate that you override any advantages this treat can give. The value of chocolate lies in the flavonoids found therein. Found in plants, these chemicals repair damage caused by environmental toxins, keeping plants healthy.

Flavonoids fall into the antioxidant category, so they fight the free radicals that occur as a natural byproduct of the various processes the body conducts every day. If you breathe, you have free radicals floating through your blood. Without adequate stores of antioxidants, these unhealthy free radicals do things like build bad (heart blocking) cholesterol.

Chocolate As A Preventative?

Could we say that chocolate has preventative powers against heart disease? If you look back hundreds of years, the Kuna Indians would tell you this is so. This civilization reportedly consumed up to 4 cups of cocoa each day, and they had no instances of heart disease. Cases started sprouting up only after this habit ceased, and the adoption of the Western diet took place.

Aside from ancient consumption of cacao and other chocolates, we also see from the research that the flavonols in chocolate are supportive of cardiovascular health, facilitating optimal blood flow to the heart and brain, and lowering the risk of clotting platelets.

Let’s Get Specific

Before you run out and buy a carton of Snickers bars, we should specify that the greatest benefits of chocolate are, in fact, obtained from less-processed forms. The average candy bar is extremely processed, so it has minimal if any, flavonoids left. For the fullest extent of benefits, consume darker chocolate, or more highly concentrated cacao. To make this treat more palatable, pair dark chocolate with cranberries, which are also highly antioxidant!

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Posted in: Health and WellnessHeart Health

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