Health Tips

Valentine’s Day: The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

With February 14 right around the corner, you can’t help but notice Godiva, Russell Stover, Whitman’s and Hershey’s everywhere. But before you grab one of these Valentine’s Day boxes of sweetness, consider what’s inside. Not all chocolates are created equal.

When it comes to your health, choose dark chocolate – also known as bittersweet or semisweet – which is more than 60 percent cocoa. Cocoa contains phytochemicals called flavonoids, which are also found in plants and other heart-healthy foods like green tea and red wine. Because of these chemicals, research has shown that dark chocolate:

But remember, there’s a lot of chocolate out there and much of it contains added sugars and fats. The University of Michigan makes these recommendations on how to choose the healthiest chocolate:

Interested in learning more about heart health? UCF Health cardiologist Dr. Bernard Gros is offering a free seminar February 23 at 6:30 p.m. called “Your Healthy Heart: From Diet to Statins.” The seminar will be held at UCF Health, located at 3400 Quadrangle Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817 (facing University Blvd.). Space is limited, so registration is required. For more information and to register, visit

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Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.