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The Surprising Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Your Heart

Many people believe that consuming dark chocolate can lead to weight gain and various health issues. While there is certainly some truth to that claim, this has led to a widespread belief that chocolate is an unhealthy food that should be avoided. However, studies have shown that dark chocolate, which is high in cocoa content, can provide surprising health benefits, particularly for your heart. Keep reading to find out some of the sweet health benefits that eating just a little bit of dark chocolate every day can offer!

Dark Chocolate Benefits

Lowering Blood Pressure

One of the significant benefits of dark chocolate is its ability to reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a leading risk factor for heart disease. The flavanols, which are plant-based nutrients, found in dark chocolate, help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. This leads to a decrease in blood pressure levels and, ultimately, a lower risk of heart disease.

Improving Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood, and high levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) can lead to heart disease. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels. The flavanols in dark chocolate help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Lowering Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for various chronic diseases, including heart disease. Studies show that consuming dark chocolate can help reduce inflammation in the body. The flavanols present in dark chocolate have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation levels, leading to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Not All Chocolate is The Same!

When it comes to reaping the health benefits of chocolate, not all types of chocolate are created equal. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids (at least 70%) is the best option for health benefits. As previously mentioned, the concentration of flavanols in dark chocolate increases with a higher percentage of cocoa, which corresponds to the associated health benefits. However, the processing of cocoa beans can also affect the flavanol content of chocolate. For optimal health benefits, it is recommended to choose high-quality dark chocolate that has been minimally processed to preserve its flavanol content.

Eat Dark Chocolate in Moderation

While dark chocolate offers many health benefits, it is still high in calories and fat, so it is essential to consume it in moderation. Consuming too much dark chocolate can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for various health issues, including heart disease. It is recommended to consume no more than one to two ounces of dark chocolate per day, or about 30-60 grams, to reap its health benefits without consuming too many calories. By incorporating dark chocolate into a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you can support your heart health and overall well-being.

Take Care of Your Heart at Brookhaven Heart 

If you are concerned about your heart health, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. At Brookhaven Heart, we provide comprehensive cardiovascular care and treatment options to help you maintain optimal heart health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help support your heart health.

Welcome to Brookhaven Heart

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