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Chewing On Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

April 18, 2014, 6:18 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Chewing On Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

From Peeps to chocolate-covered eggs, there are dozens of options for Easter Candy.

But have you thought about dark chocolate?

No matter how old Don Erickson's grandson is, "he's 19," Erickson said. He still buys him an Easter basket.

"Dove Dark Chocolate we like," Erickson said.

It turns out the candy also has some sweet health benefits. Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonols.

"It lowers your blood pressure. It decreases inflammation and makes things less sticky in your vessels, which is another bonus," Avera Heart Hospital Registered Dietitian Nikki Elsing said.

Some studies have also shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate on a regular basis could boost brain function, help regulate blood glucose levels and may even help prevent cancer. While more study is needed on those health aspects, the sweet treat has proven to be beneficial to heart health.

"Definitely looking at dessert that can give your heart protection is a pretty good way to go," Elsing said.

While dark chocolate does have some health benefits, you still want to watch your portion sizes.

"Serving size is very important when you are looking at any sort of sweet," Elsing said.

Elsing recommends this DOVE dark chocolate. In fact, the Avera Heart Hospital gives each patient a treat on their lunch tray.

"That is a nice substitute for some of those sugary things we may pick instead that are very high calorie and high fat desserts," Elsing said.

While Erickson chooses dark chocolate because of the health benefits, he says it doesn't taste too bad either.

"It does have an interesting taste. It's not as sweet," Erickson said.

Unfortunately the health benefits of dark chocolate do not hold true for milk or white chocolate.

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