Can a sweet treat also help our heart? According to the Cleveland Clinic, the flavonols (a type of flavonoid) in chocolate may positively affect our vascular health -- not to mention provide a tasty morsel. In fact, the healthier blood vessels resulting from flavonols also help prevent kidney disease, dementia and type 2 diabetes.
However, not all chocolate is created equal. As the cocoa in chocolate becomes more and more processed, as is common with commercial varieties, the amount of flavonols decreases. Therefore, until manufacturers perfect a process to preserve those flavonols, aim for dark chocolate or cocoa powder that hasn't been put through Dutch processing (a treatment step taken to mitigate chocolate's acidity).
So how much chocolate should you treat yourself to? Since there's currently no hard and fast rule on how much chocolate will maximize its health benefits, the Cleveland Clinic says to stick to 1 ounce at a time a few times a week.