Why chocolate is a great way to say thanks on Valentines day

This Valentines Day there is some good news about your go-to gift and guilty pleasure. So in fact giving your Valentine chocolates actually says, “Not only do I love you, but I care about your health”

esk love yourselfAfter all chocolate (or at least its star ingredient, cocoa) has been shown to decrease

  • blood pressure
  • the risk of cardiovascular disease (by up to 37%)
  • the risk of a stroke (by up to 29%)
  • the risk of obesity and diabetes
  • the risk of dementia
  • (self-perceived) stress in women (We’re not sure why it didn’t work on the men in the trial and are open to your thoughts on that 😊)
  • And there is a strong link between the amount of chocolate consumed in a country and the number of Nobel Laureates it produces.

The secret seems to be the flavonoids in cocoa—specifically catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins. These magic chemicals lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and prevent blood clots. 

It should be noted that many of these studies didn’t distinguish between dark and milk chocolate. So for those of us who like milk chocolate – Yay!  

But sadly, not all the news is good. There is a risk that chocolate consumption can lead to

  • Migraines
  • Osteoporosis in older women (OK there is a gender bias again – what is it with chocolate?)

And most chocolate has a high sugar content, which brings the risks of

  • Weight gain (and diabetes) – yes, chocolate can give with one hand and take away with the other
  • Tooth decay
  • Acne, and
  • Premature skin aging

So how much chocolate can I eat?

Sadly in this regard the studies just aren’t very helpful. But you don’t need a PHD to know a block of chocolate a day will not be a winner for your health. 

Sure, studies found that better health results come with higher levels of cocoa flavonoid consumption. But cocoa flavonoids usually come packaged with lots of sugar (particularly in milk chocolate). It’s unlikely to be a dead heat in terms or risk and benefits. 

As a result most doctors recommend 2 small pieces of chocolate a day. Best is dark chocolate over milk chocolate. And to really nail it, go for minimum 70% cocoa. And of course eat other sources of antioxidants like fruit and veggies, get enough sleep and do some exercise. And to protect your skin, go for the best evidence-based skincare to combat the signs of aging. 

So this Valentine’s day, you can give your sweetheart chocolate and know it’s more than just a sinful treat! Just better not to chow down on a whole box in one hit!


  1. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. 
  2. Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review
  3. Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis
  4. Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review
  5. Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study
  6. Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study
  7. Chocolate consumption, cognitive function, and Nobel laureates
  8. Chocolate consumption and bone density in older women
  9. Diet and acne update: carbohydrates emerge as the main culprit
  10. Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation
Apply your AHA the right way
Men can take care of their skin too – no really!