If you are a chocolate lover like me, I am sure you have heard the news about chocolate being good for you. Is it true or is this just another one of those foods that is good for us one day only to be found bad for us another day? Potential health benefits Chocolate research has picked up for the past 20 years, and some of the findings are as follows: May reduce blood pressure in people who are hypertensive May improve insulin sensitivity in healthy adults May improve endothelial function, which affects blood flow in the heart. May decrease LDL cholesterol levels Contains potent antioxidants which protect against cell damage May increase blood flow to the skin and brain Chocolate milk may help you recover from exercise better than a sports drink As you can see the list is long, and as you can also see, the word potential is key. Don't expect chocolate to fix all of your ailments, but if it isn't as bad as we thought and may even be good? Excellent! How much chocolate is healthy? There is not a recommended level established for flavanols, and that seems to be the compound in chocolate that provides the potential health benefits. Some of the research with the results listed above was done on as little as 30 calories of dark chocolate daily. That is about the amount of one dark chocolate Hershey Kiss. Isn’t chocolate fattening? Chocolate does contain sugar and fat, which push the calorie content high. As with any food, you need to balance your intake of calories with your expenditure. One of the predominant fats in chocolate is saturated fat, but much of that is stearic acid, which does not raise cholesterol levels.