Why Chocolate Is Good For You (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

copyright Good Housekeeping

There’s already so much stuff about how to power through Valentine’s Day that I’m not going to add to the mix…

Instead, let’s focus on something more fun, like how the earth loves us by supplying us with cacao so that we can make dark chocolate!

Why dark chocolate is amazing

It’s chock-full of minerals. A 100 gram bar of chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains fiber, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.1

It has the right kind of fat you need. The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates.

It has anti-aging effects. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, the natural compounds in foods which protect healthy cells from substances called free radicals,2the pests that accelerate the aging process. Not to mention, free radicals attack fats, proteins, and DNA in our cells, which may cause different types of diseases.

It promotes a healthy heart. Cocoa and chocolate contain flavanols, which research shows have potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.3

It can help reduce stress. An ounce and half of chocolate can lower cortisol, the stress hormone. This is not a license to go overboard and shove a a bag of Hershey’s into your mouth when you’re feeling down – we’re talking quality over quantity!

So, how much can we eat?

Dark chocolate is so satisfying that we actually don’t need that much, unlike its sibling, milk chocolate. This is mainly due to the sugar content and added ingredients in a candy bar. The purer the chocolate, the better, and having a few ounces in a week is just fine. Really savor a couple squares after a meal, or as a snack.

Show yourself some real love today and treat yourself to a delectable, high-quality chocolate!