If you’ve given your sweetie a box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day, you might be doing more than just saying “I love you.” The phytonutrients and polyphenols in chocolate have some amazing effects on the human body. Chocolate can prevent strokes, boost your mood, and lower your blood pressure. How sweet is that? According to scientists in Sweden, women who ate chocolate regularly reduce their risk of having a stroke. The polyphenols in chocolate can also boost beneficial HDL and help lower bad LDL cholesterol. Chocolate can even help maintain better blood pressure. So this Valentine’s Day enjoy your chocolate in good health! (Video via ‪Bytesize Science‬)

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  1. Louise

    Good News! I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

  2. abigail

    RE: Making cocoa and eating chocolate – I am slowly healing from eating and drinking foods that contain XANTHAN GUM or CARRAGEENAN. They have become popular because they add body, smoothness and longer shelf life. Almost all gluten free foods contain them as do milk free “milks”, packaged soups and even regular high end ice creams and organic creams. Xanthan gum and Carrageenan are now known to be irritants.

  3. JRH

    I wished you would comment on what percentage of cocoa the chocolate should be for maximum benefit.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: At least 70%. Higher is better.

  4. rv

    The only way to get the full benefits here described of chocolate and avoid all the sugar and fats of processed chocolate bars and chips is to eat RAW CACAO NIBS, which are basically the row, unprocessed cacao seeds broken up in small pieces. These nibs are available organic and can be cast over plain nonfat yogurt together with some berries and dried fruits-like raisins or dates-which will add a little sweetness contrast to the bitter cacao and will make a wonderful dessert!

  5. MJW

    I second Derek’s comments. I stopped eating sugar ~15 years ago, which meant I stopped eating chocolate. I don’t miss the sugar, but I do miss the chocolate. Is it the cocoa or the sugar that people crave? I make a good cup of hot chocolate with cocoa powder and almond or oat milk (using brands not sweetened with sugar).

  6. Angela M. Rosati

    So happy to read about chocolate. My breakfast every morning: Cooked oatmeal, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, raisins, craisins, peanuts and a glass of milk, made from dry milk, blended with a Sweet ‘N’ Low and a spoonful of cocoa…Hershey’s natural powder. Yummy.

  7. fbl

    Derek M., there are a lot of ways to do things other than the obvious.
    Here is how I get my daily shot of chocolate:
    I make a mug of hot chocolate every afternoon for a “treat”. I hot my mug, put 2 TB of organic raw coconut oil in it and the cocoa powder with cinnamon and a fat pinch of sea salt. Cream it together with liquid stevia and then pour in boiling water to 1/2 inch of the top. I then pour in about 6-8 teaspoonfuls of raw cream.
    There are a few caveats of course. First, one must ease into the coconut oil slowly as it will clean out your liver and produce some really nasty feces. Start with just a teaspoonful first. Second one must play around with the brand and amount of cocoa powder. I’ve tried a lot of kinds and keep coming back to the Equal Exchange baking cocoa powder.
    An interesting side note from my “habit” is that over a period of 12+ years I have lost a tremendous amount of weight (100 lbs) and according to my family Dr. of over 20 years “amazing skin, how old are you now? “. I’m 67.

  8. JK

    Too much of the current consumer education about chocolate is very misleading. The very photo that introduces this video would appear to equate dark, milk and white chocolate as all the same. In reality, white chocolate has virtually none of the important compounds left in it and is adulterated with massive amounts of sugar and fat – a nutritionally valueless food to eat that adds only calorie. Milk chocolate, as found in most US chocolate candy also contains huge amounts of unhealthy fats and sugar. Even dark chocolate produced here includes other oils and emulsifiers in order to make it into the thin, attractive bars that Americans favor. Although a little bit does seem to soothe the soul, touting it as a healthy aid to nutrition is stretching the facts a bit.

  9. mr

    Dosage?? The video talks about 1.5 onces(= 45-50 gm?); you’ve talked about effects from 5 gm.
    Dosage in a lot of your recommendations would be helpful. I suspect 2 T of blueberries scattered on one’s breakfast does more good for the grocery & grower than for the person eating them.

  10. I.S.

    Low proportion of useful information, especially a lack of clarity as to which cocoa powder and which chocolate is preferable.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Best chocolate is a dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids. Best cocoa is natural rather than Dutched or alkali-processed.
    Unfortunately, the companies don’t usually tell us the flavonoid content of their cocoa-based products. A few, such as CocoaVia from Mars Botanical, do.

  11. Derek M.

    Joe and Terry – I love your website and podcasts… but I really wonder about the evidence for the great benefits of chocolate. From what I read, there have really never been true randomized studies. Sure the unique complex ingredients are good in cocoa, but all that sugar really negates some of the benefits. Hey I love chocolate like everybody, but with all the massive obesity around us, do people need another excuse to stuff their faces with chocolate? Sorry if I sound like a party pooper. Maybe the answer nutritionally is to get high polyphenol cocoa and at it periodically to foods, which is
    what I do occasionally. All the best.

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