Portneuf Health Partners

February 16th, 2018

The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

By: Jennifer Hill

chocolate heart

For decades, chocolates have been given to that special someone as a sincere gesture of appreciation.  On Valentine’s Day, chocolate is shared as a sign of love or friendship. While the gesture and gifts of sweets are wonderful, rich milk chocolate is also considered to be junk food – high in calories, fat and sugar.

However, if you choose to indulge in dark chocolate, it is a somewhat healthier option. Milk chocolate is very processed, contains a lot of added sugar and does not come with many health benefits. On the other hand, dark chocolate, being 70% or higher cacao, is not as processed, will never have sugar listed as a first ingredient, and has several health benefits.

Dark chocolate contains fiber, iron, potassium, and other important minerals the body needs. It also contains antioxidants; it can improve blood flow through the body and brain and it may help lower blood pressure. Some studies suggest it may help raise HDL (the good cholesterol), and overtime may help prevent plaque from clogging arteries.

While perhaps a bit healthier than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.

During Valentine’s Week try making an easy, sweet treat to share with those you love.

 

Valentines Day Dark Chocolate Recipe

By: Lee Hayward

  1. Melt dark chocolate (70% or higher) in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Pour into a heart shaped baking tray (or any shaped baking tray)
  3. Place a few almonds (your preference of nut) in each tray
  4. Place in the refrigerator until cooled and hard
  5. Drizzle with honey (optional) before serving

Gunnars, K., BSc. (2017, May 30). 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate. Retrieved February 10, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits- darkchocolate#modal-close

Hayward, L. (n.d.). Valentine’s Day Dark Chocolate Recipe – Lee Hayward’s Total Fitness Bodybuilding Tips. Retrieved February 10, 2018, from http://leehayward.com/blog/valentines-day-dark-chocolate-recipe

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