Happy Valentines Day! Many of you are probably celebrating with chocolates. Lots of people (jokingly) tell me that they eat chocolate because it’s a “health food”, but what’s the real deal? Is chocolate good for us?
Chocolate gets its healthy reputation from the antioxidants and polyphenols that it contains. These compounds help to reduce blood pressure and inflammation. People with high blood levels of these compounds have been shown to have lower risk of heart disease, some cancers, asthma and type 2 diabetes. Because of the high antioxidant and flavanol content in cocoa powder, some people are even making a push to recognize cocoa beans as a “super fruit”. Well, super fruit or not, it is easy for all of us to reap the benefits of cocoa.
The first and biggest distinction is, that you should go for a good quality dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. If you are more partial to milk chocolate and white chocolate, I’m sorry to tell you that they don’t contain the same active compounds as dark chocolate or straight up cocoa powder.
How much chocolate does it take to get all of the benefits? Moderation is key, just about 1 ounce of dark chocolate per day is all it takes. You can also add a scoop of cocoa powder to your post workout smoothie for a deep chocolate flavor.
Enjoy your chocolate – in moderation of course!