There may not be a bad piece of chocolate around, but as you mull over potential Valentine's Day gift selections remember that only some types of the decadent treat are heart-healthy.
Milk and white chocolates may be luscious to savor, but the more potent dark chocolate contains the most flavanol, an antioxidant that may help protect arteries from damage, maintain healthy blood flow and fend off heart disease.
Unfortunately, these benefits are noticeably reduced when ingredients such as milk, butter and sugar are added to pure chocolate to turn it into candy, says Lona Sandon, a registered dietician at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
She suggested hot cocoa as a heart-healthy alternative that's still chocolate.
"Research suggests that drinking a cup of dark hot chocolate can be equated with drinking a glass of wine in protecting the heart," Ms. Sandon says.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/patientcare/medicalservices/nutrition.html to learn more about UT Southwestern's clinical services in nutrition.
Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
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