While it may not be great for your waistline, it turns out that chocolate does contain a few health benefits—especially for your heart. Eating chocolate may even make you less likely to have heart disease or a heart attack.
Specific benefits of chocolate in relationship to your heart health may include:
- Chocolate is high in magnesium, which helps regulate your cardiovascular system.
- Antioxidants in chocolate help clear plaque out of the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Flavonoids found in chocolate may lower blood pressure and improve your blood flow overall.
- Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol.
A delicious way to heart health
How can something that tastes so delicious also be good for you? The answer is in the flavonoids. Chocolate comes from the cocoa plant, which contains naturally occurring flavonoids that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help counteract the damaging effects of aging.
But don’t start adding chocolate to every meal. According to the American Heart Association, it is unlikely you can consume enough chocolate each day to reach the amount of flavanols needed to produce significant health benefits. And, not all chocolate is created equal—the more processed chocolate is, the less health-boosting flavonoids are present. Around one ounce of raw, dark chocolate per week is all you need to reap any health benefits.
This heart month take a few moments to find out if you may be at risk for a heart attack. Take our free heart health risk assessment.