Now that Valentine’s Day has just passed and Easter is just around the corner, it means only one thing to many lovers: Time to bust out the chocolate!
With all the recent media hype about the health benefits of this sweet concoction, many chocoholics are rejoicing.
But can that solid chocolate heart from your sweetheart really be good for your ticker?
Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which contain flavonoids, the same kind of beneficial plant compounds found in fruits, veggies, red wine and green tea.
Research suggests that these flavonoids may have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Other studies have linked chocolate consumption to reduced blood pressure, enhanced blood vessel function and improved cholesterol levels.
It should be noted that these protective health effects have been seen primarily with dark (not milk) chocolate, as dark varieties tend to have a higher proportion of flavonoids.
The way chocolate is processed can also affect how much flavonoid content is retained. Finally, it is essential to remember that all chocolate contains high levels of fat and calories.
The fat in chocolate can account for 50%–75% of its total calories, most of that being saturated fat from cocoa butter.
Unsweetened cocoa contains 66 calories with 3.9 g of fat; baking chocolate weighs in at 142 calories with 14.1 g of fat; sweet dark chocolate has 143 calories with 9.7 g fat; semi-sweet chocolate yields 136 calories with 8.5 g of fat; milk chocolate packs 152 calories with 8.4 g of fat; and white chocolate yields a whopping 162 calories with 9.1 g of fat!
Although some manufacturers have begun to list the candy’s cocoa content, even dark-chocolate lovers are mostly in the dark when it comes to picking the brands with high flavonoid levels.
That’s why experts warn that chocolate should be consumed in moderation, as part of a healthy, varied diet. Eating any food in excess of caloric needs will result in weight gain.
So enjoy that small portion of healthy chocolate along with a extra lap around Balboa park.
More about Chris Tina Bruce
Chris Tina Bruce is a male-to-female transgender bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness talent.
She is the founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a grassroots non-profit transgender equality organization. She is also the founder of Discover Health and Fitness, a freelance writer and the proud parent of two amazing children.
She obtained her bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University, and is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.
Chris Tina lives by some very simple rules and affirmations: All of life is a transition; where you are does not have to define who you will be and together we can cultivate change. Be Bold, Be Proud, Be Yourself.
For more information about Chris, her Fitness Fun Camps, private sessions, nutrition programs or next bodybuilding show, check out her website, check out the Hillcrest Fitness, follow her Facebook page, or on Twitter, or call (972) 989-6076.