Darker is Better

On this Valentine's Day, many people may be thinking about the health benefits of chocolate.

A number of recent studies suggest chocolate can actually be good for you. But is it really a healthful choice?

Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Medical School, and author of "The South Beach Diet," believes you need to choose wisely.

As Agatston explains, dark chocolate is the best kind of chocolate for you. It contains flavanols, chemicals that acts like an antioxidant.

"The flavanols have all kinds of benefits, both in the test tube and now in humans, on heart disease," says Agatston. "They help lower blood pressure, they help dilate vessels, and they prevent platelets from clumping, which helps prevent heart attacks."

Unfortunately, just because you eat dark chocolate, doesn't guarantee your are getting the most flavanols.

"A lot of the flavanols are processed out," of dark chocolate Agatson clarifies. "The darker the chocolate the higher the level of the flavanols and the more healthful they are."

Chocolate also stimulates the release of chemicals in our brain that make us happy.

"Historically it's actually been used in societies to make us feel better," Agatson says

So what chocolate should you get your sweetheart this Valentine's day?

"You want to avoid white chocolate, you want to avoid milk chocolate which has a lot of sugar. You want the darkest chocolate. Usually 70 percent dark or even darker."

Agatson also reminds chocolate lovers, the sweet should be eaten in moderation.
by Jenn Eaker