You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Sure, in moderation


Editor's note: This story originally published Feb. 8, 2012.

A match made in heaven? Or opposites attract?

February is National Heart Month, with a focus on food and fitness to keep our tickers ticking. Meanwhile, this is the month for valentines to salute the day with the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates.

Now you may have heard that chocolate can be good for you. But dietitian Dave Grotto, author of “101 Optimal Life Foods” (Bantam Books, 2010), says picking the right kind of chocolate is just as important as choosing the right valentine. “Chocolate is good for you may be a bit of a stretch, depending on the quantity and quality of the chocolate you eat,” he said.

The secret is in the cocoa, which contains healthy plant compounds called flavonoids. According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, flavonoids can suppress low-density lipoprotein -- so-called “bad” cholesterol -- therefore protecting against heart disease.

Dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate; that’s why nutrition experts recommend you go for dark chocolate confections. But Grotto cautions against eating too much of any kind of chocolate since it’s high in fat and calories can add up.

“Eating an entire large bar of chocolate may offset its health benefits even if the bar contains flavanols," he said. "Shoot for no more than 1 ounce every day.”

Dipped in chocolate

The aroma and romance of chocolate extend beyond the candy box. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, the Mansion on Peachtree features chocolate on menus in the cafe and the spa. While executive chef Colin Quirk whips up Valrhona chocolate fondue in the Mansion Café, the beauty experts in Spa 29 pamper guests with a “chocolate melt massage,” a chocolate sugar scrub, and for couples a “silky chocolate soak for two.”

Chocolate-covered strawberries served in the spa are a bit of a treatment, too. The strawberries provide vitamin C, which is good for your skin, and just a touch of chocolate calms cravings at about 50 calories per luscious berry.

There's more to love

A roundup of research on chocolate -- involving more than 100,000 people -- published in the British Medical Journal found that chocolate consumption was linked to lower rates of stroke, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. While there was no beneficial effect on the risk of diabetes, the report showed that those in the group that consumed the most chocolate had 37 percent less risk of any cardiovascular disorder and 29 percent less risk for stroke.

Here’s how Grotto shows his chocolate love for Valentine’s Day: “All the ladies in this ‘Guy-a-titian’s’ life love chocolate. My three daughters are thrilled when I bust the myth about chocolate’s connection to acne -- so they enjoy every bite -- but always have an eye on portion size. I love having individually wrapped ½- to 1-ounce pieces of chocolate around. You know exactly what a proper portion is without having to commit to a big bar.” In the evening, it’s hot cocoa for the girls while the parents curl up on the couch with chocolate martinis.

Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” Email her at carolyn@carolynoneil.com.



Next Up in

Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes
Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

Two Florida animal rescue facilities have taken in 47 dachshunds and are looking for a forever home for each of them. WJHG reported that the Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, Florida, and the Save Underdogs Rescue in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, took in the dogs. “They were going to be taken to a local shelter that wasn't a no-kill shelter so...
Your cat really does like you, in fact more than food, study says
Your cat really does like you, in fact more than food, study says

Cats have gotten a bad rap, at least according to a new study that found your feline really does like you, even if it doesn’t always know how to show you, and it actually likes interacting with you more than it prefers food. The study from Oregon State University researchers in the journal “Behavioral Processes” also determined that...
Greene County flu cases increased in 2017, officials say
Greene County flu cases increased in 2017, officials say

Employees at the Greene County Combined Health District say the normal flu season usually starts in October, and is over by March. But not this year. “I have four babies, all under 6 (years old), and they’re all sick,” Xenia resident Victoia McDaniel said Tuesday. About 130 Greene County residents have been hospitalized for the flu...
Increase in rattlesnake attack on dogs, Texas vets report
Increase in rattlesnake attack on dogs, Texas vets report

Veterinarians in some parts of Texas have reported an increase in the number of dogs bitten by rattlesnakes this year, according to media reports.  “The snakes are coming out of hibernation, they’re cranky and are more likely to strike when other times they might try to avoid that,” Jim Holcomb of Hill Country Animal Hospital...
7 tips for poison prevention
7 tips for poison prevention

Whether you have a baby, toddler or school-age child, your home should be a haven where your little one can explore safely. After all, touching, holding, climbing, and exploring are the activities that develop your child’s body and mind. However, according to a Safe Kids Worldwide, every minute of every day, a poison control center answers a...
More Stories