October 28 is Chocolate Day! Just in time to kick off our holiday season. Not only is dark chocolate a yummy treat, we now know, in moderation, it is healthy for us as well. Compounds have been found in chocolate that may provide benefits for our well-being.
- It can reduce LDL cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce platelet accumulation
- Reduce free radicals that are produced by oxygen
- Some chocolate have been known to even contain antioxidants
Eating dark chocolate could possibly lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. Also it has been found that 1 serving of dark chocolate contains approximately 15% of the RDA for magnesium. Magnesium is an element that helps regulate normal muscle and nerve function, assist with keeping our immune system healthy, maintaining a regular heart beat and helps build strong bones. But remember, consuming too many calories from chocolate could lead to weight gain. Eating approximately 100 kcal/day is all you need to produce health benefits.
Bruinsma, K. and Taren, D.L. 1999. Chocolate: Food or Drug? JADA 99:1249-1256
Marcus, J>B> 2003. New Age Foods for Disease Prevention. Today’s Dietitian 12(5).
Steinberg, F.M., Bearden, M.M., and Keen, C.L. 2003. Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: Implications for cardiovascular health, JADA 103:215-223.