(Family Features) Every day, more and more health benefits are being associated with chocolate and Americans are in the know - nine in ten Americans are aware of the health benefits associated with cocoa and dark chocolate, according to HealthFocus. But, the truth is, the benefits come from the cocoa flavanols - not from how dark the chocolate is or the percent of cocoa, also known as cacao.
Cocoa flavanols are good-for-you phytonutrients found in nature; no other food on Earth can match its particular blend of flavanols. "As you age, your blood vessels may become less flexible and less able to expand when needed to keep circulation running smoothly. Cocoa flavanols are scientifically proven to help support healthy circulation by helping your blood vessels stay flexible and expand as needed, even as you age," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian. "Heart, brain and eye health - even exercise performance - depend on a healthy circulatory system, which supports your overall health."
Although all chocolate is made from cocoa beans, a natural and abundant source of cocoa flavanols, not all chocolate or cocoa-based products contain cocoa flavanols, because most traditional cocoa handling and processing procedures can destroy them. "That's why the color of the chocolate and the percent of cocoa are not reliable indicators of the level of cocoa flavanols," continues Taub-Dix. "Gentle handling and processing of the cocoa bean, from harvesting of the bean through delivery of product, are critical in preserving the cocoa flavanols."
Guaranteed cocoa flavanol levels can be found in CocoaVia, a powdered daily cocoa extract supplement that delivers 250 mg of powerful cocoa flavanols in every serving. It is offered in both chocolate and fruit flavors. The delicious chocolate flavors feature both unsweetened and sweetened options. The refreshing fruit flavored varieties come in Summer Citrus and Cran-Raspberry. CocoaVia supplements are made using a patented process that preserves cocoa flavanols at the highest concentration available and is the only product that offers cocoa extract made from 100 percent pure cocoa.
To learn more and to win daily prizes, connect with the CocoaVia Facebook page and play the "You. Renewed." instant win game for a chance to collect free samples, discounts and a $5,000 grand prize. Follow CocoaVia on Twitter at @CocoaVia or visit www.CocoaVia.com for more information.
Try this delicious recipe, created by Taub-Dix, which can help you renew and be your inner best.