If you’re going to give your loved ones something sweet for Valentine’s Day, make it something touched with dark chocolate. It’s a treat with a few health benefits.

Cocoa, sugar, milk, and fat meld together to create chocolate. Dark chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate, has more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate and other forms of chocolate. At least 50% of its ingredients must be cocoa for a candy to be labeled “dark chocolate.” Plus, dark chocolate doesn’t usually contain milk. The higher the percentage of cocoa a treat has, the more bitter it tastes. People new to dark chocolate shouldn’t try one with more than 70% cocoa.

Semi-sweet chocolate’s lower sugar content is one reason it’s healthier than other forms of chocolate.

Cocoa is a nutrient-dense product. A 3.5-ounce bar with 70-80% chocolate holds lots of fiber, copper, iron, magnesium, and  . It also contains 600 calories,  

Cocoa is bursting with polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. Semi-sweet chocolate can reduce LDL cholesterols (the “bad” cholesterol) when combined with foods like almonds.

  • Reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Improve blood flow to the brain, which is the reason cocoa appears to improve attention, verbal learning, and memory when eaten daily.
  • Strengthen the body’s natural protection from the sun.
  • Enhance your mood.

It’s clear that dark chocolate is the best Valentine’s Day gift. It’s easy to get. Many popular treats have a milk chocolate and a dark chocolate version, so you can afford to get your sweetheart a big box of dark chocolate treats.

But don’t be worried about taste. If dark chocolate tastes too aggressive at first, work your way up to the stronger flavor. Start at 50% and sample more intense chocolates. However, if you can’t get higher, stick with 50%. That type of confection still has less sugar than most milk chocolates.

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