Go dark for your health this Valentine’s Day

the darker the betterIt wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without enjoying a box full of chocolates.

But health experts and dieticians are encouraging Americans to forgo milk chocolate this year, in favor of dark chocolate – which is linked to cancer prevention.

“Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of healthy antioxidants, without the increased sugar and saturated fats added to milk chocolate,” said health education manager Sally Scroggs of the University of Texas.

In fact, cacao beans supply one of the most concentrated natural sources of antioxidants known to man, she explained, adding that people should seek out pure dark chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao.

However, as with any sweet treat, it is not advised to go overboard. Scroggs recommended eating approximately one ounce of chocolate per day for its health benefits.

In addition to helping prevent cancer, dark chocolate has been lauded for its heart benefits.

In September, Italian researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts of dark chocolate on a regular basis had significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein – a marker for inflammation.