Wellness Wednesday – Week 8

Is Chocolate Good for Your Heart?

A little bit of chocolate in moderation, may be beneficial!

Chocolate contains Flavonoids that help repair damage from free radicals in the body. In addition to having this antioxidant quality, research shows that flavanoids have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot (Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2003). Cocoa is good for your heart because of fermentation by gut bacteria, creating anti-inflammatory compounds that improve blood vessel function

Are all types of chocolate healthy?

Before you grab a chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate are equal.  The more chocolate is processed, the more flavonoids are lost.  Most commercial chocolates are highly processed.  Best choices for eating chocolate are dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.  Buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content that is not processed.  Dark chocolate contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.

Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree. Cacao is the powdery substance that results when cacao beans are dried, and it’s loaded with antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer.  Try to choose bars that contain 65%-85% cacao

Dark chocolate should be eaten in reasonable amounts.  Chocolate bars contain sugar and fat, so overindulgence could cause weight gain.  Eat a smaller portion of dark chocolate to obtain the benefits of the antioxidants, while limiting calories. Remember that calories and fat content can vary between chocolate bar brands.

February is Heart Health Month – Know the sudden signs of STROKE:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body).
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Stroke is a medical emergency.  Getting treatment within 60 minutes can prevent disability.  If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

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