“Shedding Some Light On Dark Chocolate”
The inside scoop about dark chocolate in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re sulking on the couch wishing you had someone to spend your time with or you are lucky enough to have someone to celebrate with, there is a strong possibility that chocolate will be a part of your diet that day. There is a lot of nutrition buzz about the heart healthy benefits of dark chocolate. Although they are true, I wanted to shed some insight on why as well as provide you with other foods that have very similar benefits. So what is it in the dark chocolate that makes it healthier than the white or milk chocolate? The word is Flavonoids. Flavonoids are extracted from the cocoa bean used to make chocolate. They have the ability to help control blood vessel contractions which have shown to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke risks. The more processed the chocolate, the less cocoa or flavonoids it contains. This is why dietitians recommend consuming chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. However in order to reap the benefits, one must consume 1.5oz of dark chocolate daily, which equals 200calories and about 15g of fat. Although this cannot make or break a person’s diet alone, it does make it difficult to lose pounds if other limitations in one’s diet are not made. It also doesn’t mean that you should eat more than 1.5oz because it may cause weight gain which puts you at risk for heart disease (reversing the benefits in the first place!) Instead of focusing on dark chocolate alone, focus on eating a greater variety of foods that contain flavonoids. Here is a list of other foods rich in flavonoids:
– Citrus fruit: grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons
– Sweet potatoes
– Bell peppers
– Yellow onions
– Chili peppers
– Teas of any kind
– Red wine (5oz)
– Citrus juice (4oz)
– Legumes (garbanzo beans, peas, soy, etc.)
– Nuts (almond, cashew, peanut, hazelnut, pine, pistachio, etc.)
So go ahead and have some dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day but don’t forget to add more of the foods listed above to your diet regularly in order to reap the full heart healthy benefits of flavonoids!