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Loco for Cocoa

Certain holidays just call for chocolate: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, Halloween, Christmas, Passover, and others. From white to milk to dark chocolate, consumers have a delicious array to choose from. But all chocolates are not created equal.

According to a recent article by Anne Harguth, registered nutritionist and published by the Mayo Clinic. “Research continues to point to dark chocolate as having many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, preventing blood clots, improving memory, lowering cholesterol and even preventing some types of cancer.

Dark chocolate contains 50%–90% cocoa solids, which are rich in plant chemicals called flavanols. These flavanols support the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They also increase insulin sensitivity, which may eventually reduce the risk of diabetes. The National Foundation for Cancer Research found that flavanols may reduce the risk of skin cancer and improve overall skin health.”

However, dark chocolate is a high-caloric  food, containing about 150-170 calories per ounce.  It also contains saturated fat, which may affect cholesterol levels. Research suggests the benefits of flavanols outweigh the risks of higher cholesterol.

Make dark chocolate your choice when shopping for heart-healthy holiday treats throughout the year.

But remember, chocolate is a treat. Enjoy it in moderation for the greatest health benefits.