Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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Foodie Friday: The Sweet Benefits of Chocolate
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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For this week’s Foodie Friday I’d like to talk about chocolate. Lucky for chocolate lovers, it doesn’t just taste good, but can serve as a healthy part of one’s diet. How you ask? Research has shown that dark chocolate, eaten in moderation, is good for you! Studies have shown dark chocolate, not milk or white, to have health benefits such as the ability to lower blood pressure. Scientists found that plant phenols, or cocoa phenols in dark chocolate case, are the main components in dark chocolate known to lower blood pressure. Additional benefits of these cocoa phenols include their antioxidant qualities and their ability to improve blood flow to the brain as well as potential cholesterol lowering effects.

The important thing to remember is that these benefits have been shown in dark chocolate only. But before you go and buy a cart-full of dark chocolate treats also keep in mind these benefits have been shown in moderate amounts of consumption. Limit yourself to around one or two ounces each day and you’ll be able to enjoy the health benefits without adding a significant amount of sugar, fat, and calories to your diet.

While you probably won’t need any help finding ways to incorporate this delicious food into your diet here are a few of my favorite ways to eat dark chocolate:
1. Grate it over your morning oatmeal, it’s a great way to add taste and liven up your breakfast!
2. Garnish a desert or fruit plate. Fruits that compliment chocolate particularly well include peaches, strawberries, apples, and plums.
3. Eat it how you see it. You don’t have to get creative with dark chocolate; it’s tasty all by its self!

Don’t feel guilty indulging in one of favorite foods! Just aim to eat in moderation with a smart nutritional game plan.

What is your favorite way to eat chocolate?

Research assistance provided by Robert Masterson.

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