Chocolate – especially the dark variety — has many health benefits. And what better time to indulge than Valentine’s Day? Chocolate and cocoa contain flavanols, natural compounds that lower blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and make blood platelets less sticky and prone to clotting. Flavanols also increase blood flow to the brain and increase serotonin – the body’s natural antidepressant.
But that doesn’t mean we should all run out and start noshing on candy bars. Many chocolate dishes have high amounts of calories, sugar and fat. So consume chocolate in moderation and choose dark chocolate that is not heavily processed and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing, which neutralizes its natural acidity.