The Health Benefits of Chocolate by Dr. Rhonda Lowe
According to Nielsen Research, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy will be sold during Valentine’s week. But buying chocolate doesn’t just have to be in the spirit of love – there are convincing health benefits to eating this sweet indulgence.
A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that the antioxidant properties in dark chocolate can have a positive impact on blood pressure in the short term. It seems an association between the cocoa polyphenols in chocolate and a natural chemical in our blood helps our arteries expand and relax. And according to studies published in the European Heart Journal and Journal of Nutrition, eating as little as a ¼ oz. (about 10 grams) of dark chocolate per day can help to lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart and boost memory, attention span and problem-solving skills.
But make sure you give your loved one the right kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in the cocoa liquor that contains the polyphenols (you can tell by the bitter taste), but it needs to have at least 70 per cent cocoa for you to reap the health benefits. Milk chocolate doesn’t have the same effect because it doesn’t have as much cocoa liquor, and white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor at all.