David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
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Springfield, MO 65807
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January 27, 2017

Dark Chocolate Gets Two Thumbs Up for Valentine's Day

LAMAR, Mo. - Dark chocolate gets two thumbs up from nutrition specialists who say do not worry about feeling guilty for indulging in a dark chocolate treat or two this Valentine's Day.

"Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that may be linked to improved blood flow, lower risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure levels," said Lindsey Stevenson, a nutrition and health specialist for University of Missouri Extension. "So don't hesitate to grab your sweetie a healthy sweet on February 14."

To some consumers, dark chocolate may seem bitter. This bitterness comes from the cacao bean. The more popular milk chocolate candy bars are often preferred over dark chocolate because of their sweeter taste. However, milk chocolate is lower in antioxidants and higher in sugar content than dark chocolate.

"When looking to gain health benefits out of the chocolate lover's guilty pleasure, look for a treat that has a high percentage of cacao and lower in sugar," said Stevenson.

Another tip when enjoying dark chocolate is to watch your serving sizes. Although dark chocolate has health benefits, it is still a high-fat, calorie dense food.

Stevenson recommends trying to limit your serving to about 1.5 ounces a day.

For more information on nutrition contact any of these nutrition specialists in southwest Missouri: Dr. Pam Duitsman in Greene County at (417) 881-8909; Lindsey Gordon Stevenson in Barton County at (417) 682-3579; Stephanie Johnson in Howell County at (417) 256-2391 or Mary Sebade in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551. The regional office of the Family Nutrition Education Program is located in Springfield and can be reached at (417) 886-2059. Nutrition information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.

Source: Lindsey Stevenson, (417) 682-3579

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University of Missouri Extension College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources