The Health-Boosting Power of Chocolate
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The Health-Boosting Power of Chocolate

Roald Dahl, who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was buried with a good supply of chocolate and red wine -- along with snooker cues, pencils, and a power saw. Apparently, he knew chocolate and red wine are two healthful choices. (We’re not sure what to make of the other supplies!)

Red wine -- in moderation -- has long been touted as heart-friendly, but now there’s another food that’s making an imprint on your heart: chocolate. A vast study in the journal Heart reveals that regular enjoyment of chocolate is associated with a lower waist to hip ratio and a 23% lower risk of stroke. Plus, it helps cool inflammatory CRP proteins and reduces the risk for diabetes. And compared to folks who ate no chocolate, higher intake was linked to a 25% lower risk of cardiovascular-associated death.

That’s because chocolate’s polyphenols help reduce your blood pressure, decreasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. It also looks like those polyphenols decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and as a summer bonus, they may help protect skin from the sun’s UV rays.

How can you get chocolate into your diet without falling for candy bars laced with sugar, palm oil, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors? We recommend having one ounce a day of 70% cacao dark chocolate after dinner (Dr. Mike grabs three, 22 calorie chocolates a day), or try unsweetened cocoa powder added to black beans seasoned with cinnamon and hot sauce. You can also grate it and sprinkle it over your morning oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk.