Chocolate: the Kiss of Good Heart Health!

You already know that strawberries are superior sources of antioxidants, the compounds that battle heart disease. And it’s true — five strawberries offer about 2,400 antioxidant units. But I bet you didn’t know that chocolate — yes, chocolate! — offers more.

Dark chocolate packs a whopping 5,700 antioxidant units in 1½ ounces (about the size of a standard candy bar), and milk chocolate has nearly 3,000. But that’s not all the goodness you’ll get from this delicious treat. It’s been scientifically proven — although most of us didn’t need a study to tell us this — that chocolate contains a chemical that improves mood!

So how much rich and creamy chocolate should you eat to reap the benefits? As with most things in life, moderation is the key. You’re also better off reaching for solid chocolate candies or those with nuts rather than those with creamy fillings, which contribute calories but very few antioxidants. Also, steer clear of chocolate in desserts such as cake, cookies, and ice cream. Although you get the health benefits of the chocolate, they also come with a lot of calories and other ingredients that could spell trouble for your heart.

The bottom line: Settle for a kiss this Valentine’s Day!