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Dark chocolate…yes, but in moderation!

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:41 / Updated on April 16, 2019 at 18:46

Are you a chocoholic? Granted you eat your fair share of dark chocolate, but it is known to be good for the heart, right? Think again! Not all chocolate is actually good for the heart, and you should definitely not dismiss how much of it you eat.

We all know by now that not all chocolate is created equal. Numerous studies have praised the merits of dark chocolate because it is naturally rich in antioxidants called flavanols. It is thought that these composites protect the heart, lower blood pressure and relieve fatigue. These antioxidants are similar to those found in tea, red wine and certain fruits and vegetables, which are also known for their beneficial effects on the entire cardiovascular system.

An average-size bar of dark chocolate contains approximately 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids, compared to 14 milligrams for milk chocolate, and none whatsoever for white chocolate. Why, you ask? Many candy manufacturers actually remove flavanols from their chocolates because they are quite bitter. It can also be difficult to know if the dark chocolate of your choice actually contains flavanols, because this nutritional information rarely appears on the packaging.

The fundamental problem with chocolate remains the large concentrations of sugars, fats and calories. For example, a bar of dark chocolate of 100 grams contains approximately 500 calories! This is a quarter of the daily recommended calorie intake for an average adult. That is simply enormous!

For a healthy heart, nothing beats regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Because chocolate contains such high levels of fat and sugar, two substances that are known to harm the heart and arteries, you should savour it parsimoniously! To increase your chances of selecting a chocolate that is rich in flavanols, choose one that is very dark in colour, has a high percentage of cocoa, and has a very short list of ingredients.

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