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Chocolate has antioxidants that may improve cholesterol test scores

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Chocolate may not be thought of as a particularly healthy food, but new research finds that, in moderation, it may help individuals improve their cholesterol test scores. The results come just in time for Valentine's Day, when millions of couples across the country will exchange sweets with each other.

The Japanese researchers who conducted the study reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry that the key to these benefits is the antioxidants found in chocolate. In particular, their study showed that the confection has high levels of polyphenols.

These nutrients are important to heart health because, as the study showed, they increase the production of a certain protein. This chemical then interacts with cell's DNA to assemble molecules of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.

This type of cholesterol is vital to heart health because it removes plaque buildups from the arteries before they have a chance to cause complications. This reduces the risk of both heart attack and stroke.

Since Valentine's Day is one of the biggest chocolate-giving holidays of the year, the results are particularly important. Couples may be able to indulge with a little less guilt knowing that the treats they are eating may have some heart health benefits.

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