Today’s Freebie is one of our favorite foods—dark chocolate. This is no Russell Stover or Whitman’s Sampler. We would not do that to our faithful AFH readers. Our chocolate giveaway is from one of the premier chocolatiers, Ghirardelli. Of course, I need to point out that Ghirardelli is from my hood, the city by the bay, home of baseball’s current World Champions—SF GIANTS.
You might be wondering why are dietitians giving out dark chocolate as part of their heart month promotion?
I have two reasonably good answers:
1. It’s Valentine’s Day; and
2. Dark chocolate is healthy.
Of course, dark chocolate is not the same as eating your fruits or veggies because of its calories, sat fat and sugar. However, dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate and it packs in a significant amount of antioxidant-rich cocoa flavonoids.
Flavonoids are are naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods like tea, red wine and berries that offer certain health benefits. Flavanols are a type of flavonoid specifically found in cocoa and they specifically are thought to contain antioxidant properties they have been shown to help reduce blood pressure, improve the flexibility of arteries, make blood less likely to clot and reduce cholesterol levels.
The best chocolate for your health is the ones with the highest amounts of cacao, which is code for more flavanols. Still, dark chocolate contains cocoa butter and sugar so its calories add up. An ounce or two a day is all we really recommend. But as long as you choose an intense dark chocolate, a little bit goes a long way.
Tell us what you like or dislike about our site or share your “Sweet” or “Bitter” Valentine’s Day story in the comments section below. Several of the best stories will win a bag of Ghirardelli 72% Cacao “Twilight Delight” and 86% Cacao Midnight Reverie Intense Dark Chocolates. These are the highest levels of cacao found in any Ghirardelli chocolates.