If you really love your Valentine, you’ll skip the candy hearts and go straight for the chocolate: Dark chocolate, that is. I’m not sure why scientists decided to research potential health benefits of chocolate, but I’m sure glad they did! Lots of studies have found that the flavonoids in cocoa beans do all sorts of amazing things.
Dark chocolate’s properties promote heart health by increasing oxidation to stop plaque from lining artery walls and also lower blood pressure. They help to repair damaged cell membranes and aid in fighting off free radicals that damage cell tissue. And if you’re worried about the fat in cocoa butter, it’s been found to have a neutral effect on bad v. good cholesterol levels.
Even more encouraging, the British Journal of Medicine recently published a study that tracked almost 21,000 people over 11 years, comparing their chocolate intake. They found that people who had more chocolate in their diets–and not even just dark chocolate, but any chocolate– were healthier overall in comparison to those who didn’t eat dark chocolate. In particular, they had fewer cardiovascular problems.
All around, chocolate is a great food choice, but more research supports choosing dark chocolate because the flavonoids are more concentrated. In fact, the darker the better! And working cacao nib into your diet is like mainlining the benefits since it’s 100% unprocessed raw cocoa beans.
Instead of feeling like chocolate is a special treat to be eaten only every once in a while, or feeling guilty for craving a square or two (or three or four…) of chocolate each day, now you know you’re actually doing your body a favor by eating chocolate for your health.
So do your body a favor and eat more chocolate! Daily moderate treats are a big key to long-term success in maintaining a healthy weight and body, since deprivation only leads to hard feelings and bingeing. And if you make it to Cuzco, Peru, be sure to stop by ChocoMuseum where you can learn about chocolate, make some to take with you, and eat the leftovers.