Chocolate’s Secret Health Benefits

Chocolate is chucking full of powerful antioxidants called phenols, the same as those found in wine. In fact, a 1.5-ounce chocolate bar has as much antioxidant power as a 5-ounce glass of red wine. (White chocolate, which doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, doesn’t count.) And opposing to popular belief, chocolate contains only a very small amount of caffeine.

Good news for chocolate freaks: One-third of the fat in chocolate is a cholesterol-friendly fat called satiric acid, and another third is an unsaturated fat called oleic acid. One research found that the chocolate diet reduced LDL oxidation.

If you’re going to indulge, mind these points carefully:

Choose dark. Dark chocolate contains more phenols than other forms of chocolate. Milk chocolate contains milk fat that is highly saturated. Semi-sweet chocolate has less fat than milk chocolate.

Fruit Serving. Dip strawberries into melted chocolate for a high-antioxidant snack that can easily satisfy one or two fruit servings. An easy way to get melted chocolate is to simply microwave semi-sweet chocolate chips on medium for about 30 seconds. Be sure the strawberries are complete dry before you dip.

Go for quality. Buy the richest, creamiest chocolate you can afford. You’ll be more satisfied with one piece of the good stuff than five pieces of the ordinary stuff.

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