They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now, researchers have shown that having chocolate in moderation each day can benefit your health, too. Nutritionists at UC Davis were among the first to discover the magic ingredient contained in cacao pods: flavonoids.
The Benefits of Flavonoids
Raw chocolate is packed with flavonoids, which are naturally occurring antioxidants. Early UC Davis research showed that flavanols in chocolate reduced the clumping of blood platelets that can lead to heart attacks.
Subsequent studies have found that flavanols can reduce blood pressure and the incidence of hypertension. High levels of flavanols in the blood have also been linked to decreased risk of asthma, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Guilt-Free Chocolate Consumption
While this is no free pass to load up on chocolate bars, it’s clear that enjoying more flavanols in your diet can be good for you. Remember, antioxidants are found in dark versus milk chocolate, and the richer the cocoa, the better. Look for varieties with at least 60% cocoa.
Need a sweet drink? If you must, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry recommends a glass of chocolate milk versus soda or a sugary sports drink. Choose a dark chocolate variety made with calcium-rich, organic milk.