Health Watch — Valentine's Day: Chocolate Treats

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. A big, heart-shaped box of chocolates is a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but what does that do for your loved one’s health? Pure chocolate does contain flavanol, a disease-fighting antioxidant that protects arteries. That makes it beneficial!

But Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says sugar, milk and butter are added when chocolate is processed into candy, which makes the chocolate high in fat and calories and not so good for you. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain the highest levels of flavanol. A good way to enjoy chocolate is in hot cocoa made with dark chocolate. That’s as good for your heart as drinking a glass of red wine. It’s also best to enjoy chocolate in moderation.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.


February 2008

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