Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to eat chocolate – if you need an excuse, that is. We love a good dessert display and this lazy susan covered with dark chocolate doesn’t disappoint. It looks pretty – and nobody can resist spinning the lazy susan to find the exact piece they want.

When I went searching for the health benefits of dark chocolate, I found a lot of information, but what’s even more important is that much of what I found is backed up by real scientific studies. Here’s what I know, now, about how healthy dark chocolate really is:

  • Full of antioxidants: Dark chocolate is a legitimate source of antioxidants which helps neutralize free radicals and protect our bodies from their damage. 
  • May lower blood pressure in some individuals: Another scientific study, this one completed by Cleveland Clinic, found that the flavanols in dark chocolate may lower blood pressure which is good for overall heart health.
  • Cholesterol lowering benefits: Still another study showed that cocoa powder lowers cholesterol - and multiple studies have linked cocoa with better cardiovascular health.
  • Improves cognitive Function: Dark chocolate can boost focus and memory, especially in the elderly, according to The American Institute of Nutrition.
  • Makes your skin prettier: The flavanols in dark chocolate can even help protect your skin from sun damage and increase skin density and hydration. Which will make you look better.
  • Helps you lose weight: At least one neuroscientist believes eating dark chocolate can cut appetite, helping people lose weight. Plus, researchers from Italy found that dark chocolate consumption can reduce insulin resistance. Eating it discourages insulin spikes that might ultimately lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Loaded with Nutrients: A bar containing 70-85% cocoa is a great source of fiber and minerals including iron, magnesium, copper and manganese to name just a few.

So yes, it can do pretty much everything.

These studies all relate to dark chocolate or cocoa powder in its purest form, which is found in higher concentrations in darker chocolates – the higher the percentage, the darker and healthier the chocolate is. So if it’s milk chocolate you really love, you’re out of luck.

Here in Baltimore, we’re lucky to have a ton of great local chocolate makers – most of the chocolate scattered on the wood cutting board in the picture came from local makers. If you don’t live in Baltimore I’m sure you have some local chocolate makers where you call home. We love to say Shop Local when possible.

Here is the list of local chocolatiers featured on our Chocoholic Lazy Susan.

Also featured on the lazy susan is chocolate graham crackers and mini flourless cake from Atwater's.

However you like your dark chocolate – in a cake, in a bar, in tiny slivers – know that those rumors are true. It really is good for you!

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