ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Chocolate is in the news as a heart-healthy food. According to the February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, two recent studies have found that some chocolate products contain high levels of antioxidant flavonoids. These plant-based compounds limit the effects of lipoprotein (LDLs) components in the harmful kind of cholesterol.
Good news for chocolate lovers -- these flavonoids may help protect arteries and prevent heart disease. And if you like dark chocolate, the news is even better. The darker the chocolate, the higher it's likely to be in flavonoids.
However, the studies didn't address how much chocolate you need to eat to achieve heart benefits. Nor did they study any long-term heart benefits or risks. So until more research is done, chocolate should be kept to an occasional treat because it's still high in calories, fat, sugar and low in fiber.