Valentine Chocolate: A Healthy Treat

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

February 13, 2006

This Valentine's Day chocolate lovers may be in luck. New research shows that your favorite holiday treat may actually be good for you.

Chocolate lovers stood in long lines to buy their Valentine a sweet treat. Lindt Chocolates has been slammed since the doors opened early Monday morning.

"It's crazy, it's really crazy. But it's always crazy around Valentine's Day," said Judy Yustas-Harlow, Lindt Assistant Manager.

Whether it's made into a truffle or a bar everyone has their own favorite kind of chocolate.

"Men are usually much more apt to go for the dark chocolate," said Yustas-Harlow.

But what men may not know is that it's also healthy. Typically, the darker the chocolate, the higher the flavanols, which help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

"The flavanols act as antioxidants which stop the LDL or bad cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls," said Marjorie Livingston, a Nutritionist.

Before you scarf down the whole box, take note, the healthy ingredient is only found in dark chocolate and most of the time American processing takes the good stuff right out.

"If an alkali has been used to process the chocolate, then the flavanols have been destroyed," said Livingston.

It can get worse when butter and sugar are added to these bite size desserts. However, nutritionists said there's no harm in splurging once in awhile. Valentine?s Day only comes once a year.

Researchers have yet to pinpoint a specific dose of the chocolate that will benefit your health and minimize the weight gain. Doctors recommend that moderation is the key. According to nutritionists, chocolate may also contain a natural antidepressant.

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