Heart-Healthy Benefits of Chocolate on Valentine’s Day

If you love to get a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, you’re not alone.

It’s National Heart Month and what better way to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day than with something that can help your loved ones be healthy – dark chocolate!

Dark chocolate is the chocolate of choice when you want to say “I love you” in a heart-healthy way.

Chocolate comes from Cacao, a bean full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many studies link the properties of the cacao bean to health benefits for your heart and overall body functioning.

So, before you dig in, here are a few reasons why dark chocolate is the perfect way to celebrate your love for that special someone, friend, co-worker or yourself!

Dark Chocolate Improves Heart Health
Consuming cocoa and cocoa-containing foods can improve your cardiovascular health due to their high content of flavanols. Flavanols are the primary type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate that helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. Dark chocolate flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky, reducing the risk of blood clots and stroke.

A recent study supports the case that moderate chocolate intake can even lower the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. In the study, those who ate one serving per week had a 17 percent lower rate; and those who consumed two to six servings per week had a 20 percent lower rate.

Chocolate Improves Your Mood
Eating chocolate is often associated with happiness and celebrations, and studies prove that consuming chocolate can help improve your mood and make you feel calmer and more content. Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that creates feelings of pleasure. That means a little piece of chocolate may be able to lift your spirits on a, particularly bad day.

Improves Your Skin
Research shows that the flavonoids in dark chocolate help absorb UV light, increase blood flow to the skin, improve skin texture, and increase skin hydration. While research shows that regular consumption of flavanol-rich chocolate may help protect the skin against harmful UV light, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to skip the sunscreen and eat tons of chocolate. Moderation is key!

Valentine’s Day Chocolates May Improve Brain Power
As mentioned earlier, the compounds found in chocolate can improve blood flow to the brain. One study found a link between chocolate and a lower risk of stroke, while another study found chocolate may also prevent memory decline. This is important as researchers look for ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

If your box of Valentine's Day chocolates is filled with dark chocolate, your honey had your heart health in mind.

So, if your significant other shows up to your door with a big box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, you don’t have to feel 100% guilty. You can take comfort in knowing there are major health benefits found in all of that chocolate goodness.

Which dark chocolate goodies will you be enjoying on this love holiday? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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