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Can life be like a box of healthy chocolates?

If you're craving this sweet treat, go for dark.

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If you’re buying a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, look for those that have the healthiest ingredients. If you don’t, you never know what you’re going to get.

You could get milk chocolate, which has the least amount of cocoa. Or choose white chocolate, which has no cocoa.

Only dark chocolate has a high amount of cocoa. Some research suggests that cocoa may help lower blood pressure.

A dark chocolate bar with 70%–85% cocoa has about 600 calories and 24 grams of sugar. The same-size milk chocolate bar has about the same calories, but twice the sugar. (These amounts are according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

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Learn how to keep your heart healthy

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Schedule your Annual Wellness Visit.

Get started 

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“While dark chocolate is the best choice, it’s not exactly a health food,” said Joshua Jacobs, MD, Optum. 

“It still has added fat, sugar and calories. Eating too much could reverse the benefits of cocoa and make you gain weight. This puts you at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.”

Experts say to look for less-processed chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. You should also limit yourself to 1 to 2 ounces a day.

And when recipes call for chocolate chips, use the dark variety. Try them in these tasty peanut butter walnut energy bites. You could even sneak them into a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. 

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Will Medicare cover an Annual Wellness Visit?

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Original Medicare covers the Annual Wellness Visit at 100% of the Medicare-approved amount when you get the service from a provider who accepts Medicare. You pay nothing (no deductible or coinsurance).

Medicare Advantage plans must cover Annual Wellness Visits without applying deductibles, copays or coinsurance when you see a network provider and meet Medicare’s rules for the service.

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Sources:

  • American Heart Association
  • UnitedHealthcare Stride
  • Medicare Interactive

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.