Dark Chocolate Protects the Heart
(ABC NEWS) -- There is some truth to this. Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which can help lower blood pressure. Chocolate has also been found to improve blood flow and won't raise cholesterol.
But that's not a license to treat yourself any more than once in a while.
Forget the idea of the more the better, because you don't need a lot of chocolate to produce the beneficial effects, Ayoob said.
Unfortunately, the chocolate bars regularly found on store shelves don't have high-enough cocoa content to provide adequate protection from heart-related problems.
"You get these effects at 70 percent cocoa or above," Ayoob said.
An ounce of dark chocolate is about 150 to 160 calories, and the darker the chocolate, the more heart-healthy it may be.
"If you have it as a dessert in place of cakes or others, it'll be lower calories and still good," said Ayoob.