Doctor’s Orders: Dark Chocolate (in Moderation)

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.

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.