Chocolate: Heart-Healthy Gift for Valentine’s Day

Chocoholics can cheer about the latest health findings—and just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate, especially with 70% or more cocoa, is the BEST gift you can give your Valentine if you want to also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Dark Chocolate Healthier
In the largest study to date, the German Institute of Human Nutrition found that people who ate 7.5 grams of chocolate per day had a 39% reduced risk of stroke or heart attack.  They followed over 19,000 people over four years and compared those who ate the most dark chocolate with those who ate the least and found that even with that small amount of chocolate a day, the outcomes were significant.

Canadian researchers found similar results by performing a systematic review of 88 papers that compared two groups of people: one that ate 50 grams of dark chocolate weekly, and the other who did not consume any. They found that stoke risk decreased by 22% and death from stroke decreased by 46%.  They cautioned, however, that 50 grams of chocolate may be too much and it appears that the German study showed that only a small amount daily is adequate.

Moderation is Key
However, before we release the inner-child in all of us and go on a chocolate binge, we need to remind ourselves of the high caloric count and saturated fats also present in chocolate.  One small square of chocolate from a divided candy bar is about 7.5 grams—that’s all it takes!

The happy news is that one small square per day can reduce your blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke. That, along with a glass of red wine a day, and we are happy AND healthy!

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