February is known for two things: heart health and love. So let’s love our hearts and combine the two for a decadent treat… dark chocolate! It’s time to have a heart-healthy diet without trashing the chocolate stash. A heart-healthy diet is your first defense to prevent heart disease.
Eating chocolate can be healthy because dark chocolate is an antioxidant-rich food that has proven health benefits. Antioxidants are important because they protect cells within our body from the wear and tear we endure from stress, poor diet and the inevitable process of aging.
If that’s not enough, dark chocolate supports cardiovascular health by raising levels of “good” cholesterol, improving blood flow and preventing blockage of the arteries.
Dark chocolate, particularly cocoa, is linked to improved mental functioning.
Bad news for milk chocolate fans…
The benefits of chocolate come from the cocoa bean and milk chocolate contains two to three times less cocoa than dark chocolate. Also, milk chocolate contains more sugar. The more sugar you consume, the more unhealthy cravings you experience throughout your day.
What about white chocolate? Well, white chocolate is a confection based on sugar and fat without cocoa solids. And without cocoa, you are missing the heart-healthy ingredient.
Two things to remember:
1. Pay attention to serving size.
2. Dark chocolate still has calories.
If you are looking to indulge in a chocolaty treat or cocoa, the most important thing to remember is MODERATION IS KEY. Stick to dark chocolate varieties and cocoa that is low in sugar or sugar free.
Let the cocoa on the label be your guide because the higher the percentage of cocoa, the more antioxidant content.
So this Valentine’s day let’s keep our hearts in mind… Express your love the heart-healthy way!Tweet