Reasons to Heart Chocolate

By Kirstin Hill, RD and Certified EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Instructor
I love chocolate, (who doesn’t ?) so it’s worth mentioning the cardio-protective and general health benefits of eating chocolate, dark chocolate that is.

Follow these tips to include chocolate as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet:

Dark chocolate helps promote reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, anti-clotting effects, reduced plaque formation in arteries and stable blood sugars

Magic behind chocolate: flavanols, a type of phytochemical (comes from plants), are known for promoting cardiovascular health. Also found in cocoa, fruits, vegetables, tea and red wine.

Feel good factor: Two compounds, theobromine and phenylethylamin (PEA) likely contribute to making us feel good. Theobromine is a mild, natural stimulant while PEA releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in your brain.

Go Dark: it has more flavonols, the heart healthy antioxidants that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Choose dark chocolate with at least 65-80% cocoa content. Milk chocolate has less flavanols and white chocolate (not true chocolate) contains none.

Avoid: extra ingredients, like cream or fruit fillings because they are high in calories, fat and sugar.

Portion control:a small piece, ~1 oz/day (~200 kcals) is an ideal amount to satisfy a sweet tooth without adding too many calories, fat and sugar.

Ultimate combo: melted dark chocolate drizzled over fruit-strawberries, pineapple, kiwi-for an extra dose of antioxidants, great for your heart, sweetheart and waistline!

Calorie-conscious: add cocoa powder to your smoothie-think bananas, berries, yogurt, milk honey-YUM!

Visit: Dark Horse Chocolates @ for fun, equestrian-themed gift chocolates

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