I have a friend that is a major chocolate addict. She swears that she read somewhere that chocolate is good for you. Is this true?

Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate or cocoa, contains health-promoting substances called flavonoids. These chemicals may have extensive biological properties that help prevent disease and promote human health. Flavonoids act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. This can help prevent damage to the heart and blood vessels, thereby reducing heart disease risk. Fruits and vegetables are also an excellent source for flavonoids. The flavonoid content of cocoa and chocolate can be variable. The more cocoa in a chocolate product, the higher the flavonoid content is.

The high calorie load of dark chocolate makes keeping portion sizes small. A small piece of dark chocolate may only contain approximately 50 calories, but an entire candy bar can contain 200 or more. In comparison, fruits and vegetables are generally lower in calories so you can enjoy larger portions of these without as much impact on your waistline. In addition to flavonoids, fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of other disease fighting antioxidants. So, bottom line is to enjoy dark chocolate in moderation but to also emphasize a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.

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