High Cocoa Percentage In Chocolates Has Heart Benefits

It's estimated American's will buy 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate treats for there special valentine.
Chocolate is often thought of for the sweet reward it gives and rarely for health benefits.
As romantics swoop in to scoop up chocolaty treats, sales at the Potpourri House in Tyler have been on the up and up.
"Wonderful," said Sandee Chase boutique general manager of the Potpourri House. "Up this year, but they like to select they don't want to do pre-packs. They want to go and select their own."
Chocolate lovers, here's a special note. Some forms of chocolate can have health benefits, helping to take the guilt out of the sweet for your sweetie.
Mandy Jefferson, Dietitian with Trinity Mother Frances Hospital said chocolate really can be a heart felt gift. It's because of a substance called a flavonoid.
"It's basically an antioxidant which has been found to help in numerous things like blood flow, lowering your cholesterol and helping to defend yourself against cancer," Mandy said.
But before you brand chocolate a "healthy food," keep in mind it's only chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa.
"When we buy the commercially made products and the cocoa powder, these are striped of those flavonoids during processing."
Be sure to read the labels. A higher cocoa count means there is less sugar and the fat of cocoa butter.
"Definitely look at the label," Mandy said, "and look for a higher cocoa content like around 80 or 90 percent.
Mandy Jefferson says darker chocolates tend to be healthier than milk or white chocolate. Chocolates that are bitter sweet tend to have a higher flavonoid count.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com