The health benefits of chocolate

Cropped Photo: John Loo / Flickr / MGN License Info

(CNN) -- There is never a bad time for chocolate. And while it may be linked with love and romance, it also has some healthy benefits.

"Chocolate's more than just a matter of the heart for what we give to people that we love. Chocolate has nutrients in it that can help us to protect our heart. They're called flavonols, and they help to increase the blood flow to your heart," says Elyse Sartor, Clinical Outpatient Dietitian with Northside Hospital.

One study says as little as a quarter of an ounce of chocolate a day may keep the heart doctor away, dark chocolate that is.

The German Institute of Human Nutrition says it could lower the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Another study says chocolate can help improve a person's mood.

It's also a good antioxidant and helps with inflammation.

However, not all chocolate is created equal.

"Dark chocolate can be a source of vitamins and minerals but it is also going to be a source of added sugar," Sartor says.

Remember, moderation is key.