CHICAGO (CBS) — There are a lot more choices for chocolates these days, if that’s your surprise for mom this weekend.
But if you want to give her the healthiest kind, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker shows you what to look for.
Ten years ago, Cathy Bouchard says she suffered from fibromyalgia, depression and migraines.
Then she began eating and drinking the purest dark chocolate she could find.
“And, after two months, I had my ‘a-ha!’ moment. I realized, oh my gosh, I have no more pain. I had no more symptoms,” Bouchard says.
Now, more companies are jumping on this health-benefits bandwagon.
Besides more chocolate products containing nuts, fruits, probiotics and green tea, you can also find 100-percent cocoa bars, nibs and drink powders.
“Dark chocolate does contain polyphenols, which are a potent source of antioxidants,” says Celina Scala, a Rush University Medical Center registered dietitian.
She says recent research links the treat to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, improved mood and even a healthy weight.
The key is to make sure the chocolate contains a higher amount of cocoa or cacao, with the least amount of added sugar or milk.
“The more, higher percentage of cacao in the chocolate, the higher the percentage of polyphenols available in the chocolate,” Scala says.
The greatest benefits come from chocolate that is 70 percent cacao or higher.
Bouchard, who now runs her own chocolate shop in Naperville, says all it takes to reap the benefits is 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day. That’s about 140 calories.