Dark Chocolate: Good for the Heart

Valentine’s Day is almost here and who can resist the allure of chocolate for this special occasion. Most heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sugar laden with creamy and chewy caramel fillings. Why not have a treat that is heart healthy and delicious?

Go for the dark chocolate, 70% or higher for a richer flavor that’s also rich in heart healthy flavonoids. These are antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain and heart. Chocolate is still high in calories, but all you need is a small amount (about 1 oz.) a few times a week to reap the benefits.

Lindt brand chocolate sells 3.5 oz. bars of dark chocolate 70%, 85%, or 90% cocoa content of the good stuff. You can find this at your local Publix. Each bar contains 10 squares that you can break up and eat 1 or 2 pieces at a time. The ingredients are simply: chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, demerara sugar, and bourbon vanilla beans. This is a high quality chocolate bar and very reasonably priced. For those sensitive to dairy products found in milk chocolate bars, dark chocolate will suite your non-dairy needs.

Here is an article published by the Cleveland Clinic about the benefits of dark chocolate: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx.