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Chocolate – Food for the Heart

Here’s some good news just in time for the Easter holidays and, of course, for all the chocolate lovers out there; dark chocolate is actually good for your heart! In moderation of course.

Patrick Holford has always advocated good-quality dark chocolate in moderation, as a health-promoting indulgence. Now, new research confirms this, showing that small portions of dark chocolate not only decreases your risk of heart failure by 32%, but is also good for your love life.

After all, few foods readily inspire the obsessive passion that many feel towards chocolate. From the time when wild cocoa beans were first roasted, it has been revered as a sacred food – and for very good reason.

Cocoa contains significant quantities of potent antioxidants, called flavonoids –  it is these compounds which are believed to protect against heart disease and high blood pressure. The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the greater the flavonoid content. So eating 70% dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate, which can contain 20% or less cocoa solids. When combined with milk, the antioxidants also appear to have a less potent effect.

Good for your love life? Attempts at identifying the single component that makes chocolate so pleasurable have largely proved inconclusive, as commercial chocolates are made in so many different ways with varying quantities of cocoa. What we do know is that much of the bliss experienced when eating chocolate stems from the fact that cocoa butter, the fatty part found in the beans, melts just below body temperature and lends itself to feelings of soothing comfort upon ingestion.

So, this Easter, opt for dark, preferably organic, chocolate for yourself and as a gift for someone special.