Is Dark Chocolate Heart Healthy?

dark chocolate

For all you chocolate lovers out there, we have good news. Cocoa contains plant chemicals called flavanols, which may help protect the heart. Flavanols help support the production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. This may also lead to lower blood pressure, which can lower your risk of heart disease. But, do all chocolates provide the same benefit? Sadly no, dark chocolate contains 2-3 times more flavanol than milk chocolate.

Though there are benefits to consuming chocolate, there are some risks as well. Dark chocolate contains caffeine so you may want to check with your physician about adding caffeine to your diet. Chocolate also contains saturated fat, which may increase your risk of heart related health problems if not consumed in moderation. Many dieticians recommend limiting your saturated fat intake to 10% of your daily calories. Additional studies have also linked chocolate to a reduced risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. Although, more research is needed to confirm these links.

As with many things in life, it’s best to consume dark chocolate in moderation.

References:

  1. Dark Chocolate. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/
  2. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/healthy-chocolate/faq-20058044

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