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(Springfield) – This Valentine’s Day, keep dark chocolate in mind when deciding what treats to get your significant other.

Sudies continue to show the remarkable health benefits of dark chocolate according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Made from cocoa, the treat is loaded with health-promoting compounds that function as powerful antioxidants. In fact, dark chocolate has been shown to contain more antioxidant activity than several well-known super fruits. Studies show that dark chocolate may improve blood flow, improve insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, raise “good” HDL cholesterol, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, and protect LDL from unhealthy oxidation.

In addition to blood sugar and cardio-vascular benefits, human studies indicate the consumption of dark chocolate benefits human skin. For instance, cocoa consumers were shown to have a decrease in skin roughness and scaling, improved dermal blood circulation, and better “cosmetic” skin surface and hydration.

For more information on nutrition contact Cammie Younger at the Texas County Extension office at 417-967-4545. Information is also available online at extension.missouri.edu.

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