Dank Uwel for Trader Joe’s Pound-o-Chocolate

Straight outta Belgium, this formidable brick of cocoa goodness is enough to keep any chocolate junky straight.  Just a square a day will do it – the kind I get (72% dark) is so rich, any more than a wee square just doesn’t feel right.  Not only will it satisfy your cravings, it might just be good for your health.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate or white chocolate — also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: The evidence for the health benefits of chocolate comes mostly from short-term and uncontrolled studies. More research is needed.

In the meantime, if you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Why? Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. And too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Choose dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65 percent or higher. Limit yourself to around 3 ounces (85 grams) a day, which is the amount some studies have shown to be helpful. Because this amount may provide up to 450 calories, you may want to cut calories in other areas or step up the exercise to compensate.

Web MD, Live Science and The Huffington Post recently published articles reviewing some of the scholarly findings on chocolate’s effect on health.  It’s nice to know something I’d be doing anyway also happens to be good for me – so long as I can keep the doses to reasonable amounts! 😉

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