by SHAPE editors
Chocolate: How do you pick the healthiest one?The once guilty pleasure has gone from sinner to winner in recent years, as a slew of research has uncovered benefits that range from protecting your heart to improving your mood. But not all varieties are created equal, warns Andrea Giancoli, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Chocolate's healthful effects derive from its plant source, the cacao bean, which contains flavanols (phytochemicals that act as antioxidants); different formulations have varying amounts of the magic ingredient. Here's how these sweets stack up.
With fewer flavanols than dark, milk chocolate isn't a top choice. But you can pump up the benefits by going for a bar with a medium to high level of cacao (around 40 percent) and some nuts or dried fruit for an extra boost of good-for-you ingredients.
Try: Chuao Chocolatier Caracas ($5 for 3.5 oz; chuaochocolatier.com) The cacao clocks in at 41 percent; almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios offerRead More »from The Best and Worst Chocolates for Your Body