If you’re indulging in a chocolate love affair for Valentine’s Day, you may be doing something more for your heart than you realize. The ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations believed cacao beans to have magical and divine properties; and a bitter drink was made from the beans to use in sacred ceremonies.
With the first chocolate candy marketed by Cadbury in the 1860’s; the worldwide love affair with chocolate became official. Our chocolate love affair has recently grown stronger as research reveals the many benefits it has on our health.
Chocolate can indeed be considered magical because it is rich in a substance called flavanols. Flavanols act as antioxidants that numerous studies have shown to greatly benefit heart health. How appropriate that chocolate, a gift commonly given to a sweetheart, is actually beneficial for their heart.
Research from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that consuming a few squares of dark chocolate everyday can reduce the risk of death from a heart attack by almost 50% as a result of blood platelets clotting at a slower rate. Flavanols can increase the population of certain cells that help to repair the inner walls of blood vessels.
The beneficial affects can include:
– improved circulation
– lower blood pressure
– flexible arteries
How To Choose A Healthy Chocolate
This chocolate love affair might sound too good to be true. The catch is that all chocolate is not created equal. In order to get the heart healthy benefits it is important to choose your chocolate wisely. Choose a dark chocolate containing at least 70% cacao.
My Healthy Chocolate Favorites