The Surprising Health Benefits of Chocolate
Need an excuse to eat more chocolate? How about the fact that chocolate is a natural antioxidant? But before you finish off those leftover Valentine’s treats, it’s important to know that not all chocolate is created equal.
“The chocolate that contains the most level of antioxidants is dark chocolate,” explains Dr. Nicole Phillips, Primary Care Physician at IU Health Physicians. “Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which contains plant chemicals called flavonols.”
Flavonols are antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells against damage from free radicals. A study in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in 2007 suggested that eating a small amount of dark chocolate daily, about the size of a Hershey’s kiss (6.3 grams), may lower blood pressure by up to 3 points.
You can also reap the benefits these healthy Flavonols from drinking red wine or eating one of the following delicious foods:
- Apples (the skin)
- Red grapes
- Tea (all kinds)
So enjoy some dark chocolate and the bonus of health boosting Flavonols! “Just be sure to balance the calories of the dark chocolate with eating less of other things,” recommends Dr. Phillips.