Chocolate for Heart Health?

Flavonoids might protect the cardiovascular system, but don’t overdo it.

Heart-shaped cookie cutter next to outline of heart in cocoa dust

In honor of Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, you’ll find dark chocolate for sale at our campus cafeteria this week in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.


Are you skeptical that chocolate can be good for you? According to the Cleveland Clinic, a flavonoid called flavonol found in cocoa and chocolate has been linked to a variety of benefits, including better blood flow and decreased blood pressure. The American Heart Association also notes the potential flavonoid benefits, but says to watch out for the fat and calories. In a list of superfoods, it gave more of a green light to salmon, berries and nuts.


Online news site, Vox, recently looked at a bunch of chocolate studies and was unimpressed. Though even Vox allowed that there’s some promising evidence, but not enough to warrant the message that chocolate is a health food.


The jury is still out, says CSL Behring cardiologist Danielle Duffy. She’s a Global Clinical Program Director for CSL Behring’s CSL112 cardiovascular program.


“If the chocolate craving strikes, treat yourself to dark chocolate in moderation (1 oz. portion, a few times per week),” Duffy said. “However, the focus should be on an overall heart healthy diet that contains flavonoids from other sources such as blueberries, red onions, citrus and tea.”