Heart-healthy dark chocolate
by Leika Suzumura, R.D., former PCC Nutrition Educator
This article was originally published in February 2011
Is it possible to savor chocolate and support a healthy heart? Yes, and what a delight it is! Dark chocolate has a loveable personality — sweet, comforting, adventurous (really, have you tried Theo Chocolate’s Spicy Chile bar?). Beyond these characteristics, there is growing evidence and interest in its health benefits.
Particular micronutrients in chocolate show a strong correlation with heart health. Within the family of antioxidants, dark chocolate contains high amounts of polyphenols and flavanoids — they give chocolate that intense bitter flavor and help keep our cells protected from free radical damage. Choosing to eat a moderate serving (a couple of squares) of dark chocolate over milk chocolate (especially dark chocolate not processed with alkali so that it retains its nutrients) can offer the following benefits to the heart: