Dark Chocolate for Love Day

Go dark for Love Day.  Dark chocolate has a hefty amount of antioxidants in the form of cocoa, which is a flavonol known to decrease blood pressure.  If you read yesterday’s post on sodium, you’ll want to consume this bittersweet magic – in moderation.  Read on to find out how much will benefit your heart (in every way!)

What percentage should I buy?

Go for a variety with 70% cacao or more.  Many brands will offer around 50% of dark chocolate.  The higher the percentage, the more benefit you’ll reap.  Some chocolate will have upwards of 80-90%.  I’ve tried the 90% and it takes the sweet out of bitter – if you’re into that sort of thing.  Wow your loved one with a 70-80% variety.

How much will offer the benefit?

According to a recent study in the European Heart Journal, researchers discovered that those who consumed six grams of dark chocolate per day (around ¼ oz or 1 square of a bar) offered subjects a 39 percent lower risk of a heart attack or stroke.(1)  Another study in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism discovered that dark chocolate can protect the body post stroke-event.(2)

Do you recommend specific brands?

Anything “Fair Trade” will do!  Fair trade means that the product has been produced in a sustainable manner for both the farmer and the environment.  As a result, the consumer will benefit from a healthier product and support the system allowing for it.  Some of my favorite Fair Trade chocolate includes “Equal Exchange,” “Green & Black’s Organic,” “Divine,” “Dagoba Organic,” and “Sweet riot.”  For other brands, visit http://www.fairtradeusa.org/products-partners/cocoa, scroll down to the bottom right side of the page and review the products verified for fair trade.

Sources

(1) http://www.escardio.org/about/press/press-releases/pr-10/Pages/chocolate-reduces-blood-pressure.aspx

(2) http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/journal/v30/n12/full/jcbfm201053a.html

 

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