Chocolate: It’s Healthier Than You Think

by Belue Farms Natural Market

Want a healthy gift for your Valentine? Consider dark chocolate—it’s not only delicious, it’s surprisingly nutritious. Dark chocolate is rich in iron and minerals like magnesium, selenium, potassium, and manganese. It also contains flavanols, catechins and polyphenols that act as antioxidants to ward off disease and protect cells from oxidative damage.

A German study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that dark chocolate can reduce high blood pressure. Another recent study in the same journal reveals that when paired with almonds, dark chocolate can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.

Ongoing research conducted by Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, in Boston, indicates eating dark chocolate at least five times a week may lower the risk of heart disease by 57 percent, and when eaten two to three times weekly, chocolate can lower the risk of calcified arterial plaque by 32 percent.

Several studies, including one by the Nestle Research Center, in Lausanne, Switzerland, show that flavanols in dark chocolate can improve blood flow and reduce cortisol levels, improving cognitive function and skin density.

Of course, chocolate has many calories, so enjoy it in moderation and choose high-quality, dark chocolate with a cocoa mass of 70 percent or more. Some chocolate even supports Paleo, keto, gluten-free and vegan diets. Fortunately, you only need an ounce or two to receive nutritional benefits. You’ll not only satisfy your taste buds—you’ll do something good for your mind, body and soul.

Belue Farms Natural Market is located at 3769 Parris Bridge Rd., Boiling Springs. Visit their website at BelueFarms.com