<p>Easy on the salt, heavy on the veggies—all your doc's diet tips for keeping your blood pressure in check can be a little depressing, right? Well, recent <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub2/abstra... the <a href="http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html">Cochrane Library</a> brings better news: Something as simple as adding a cup of hot cocoa into the mix (yes, you read that right) might have some modest heart health benefits. </p>
<p>In the study of 856 adults, Australian scientists found that those who ate 30-1080 mg of dark chocolate or cocoa per day—both of which are rich in antioxidants called flavanols—had slightly lower blood pressure readings than those who didn't. It's probably due to the fact that flavanols boost the production of nitrous oxide in your body, which in turn causes your blood vessel walls to relax and open.</p>
<p>So while you shouldn't read this as an excuse to hit the vending machine for a Snickers break on a daily basis (only the high-quality cocoa and dark chocolate counts, says Nutrition Expert Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D.), you <em>can</em> indulge in small amounts. Zuckerbrot has shared her favorite ways to get your flavanol fix, all under 200 calories. </p>
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries</font></h3>
3 medium sized strawberries - 180 calories <p>
It's easier than it sounds. Simply melt 1 ounce of dark chocolate (about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips) and drizzle it onto your strawberries for a quick and impressive dessert.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Raw Cacao Nibs</font></h3>
<p>1 ounce - 130 calories <p> Making a protein shake for breakfast? Toss some raw cacao nibs into your favorite concoction for extra flavor.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Ghirardelli Intense Dark 60% Cacao Evening Dream Bar </font></h3>
3 Squares - 165 calories<p>
Keep one of these chocolate bars in your freezer or your desk drawer to satisfy those intense chocolate cravings