Side Orders: Dark chocolate is at the heart of a luscious dessert

The health benefits of chocolate center on compounds called flavanols, which are found in cocoa. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)

Scientists have long debated the merits of chocolate, but the latest research suggests that one of our favorite addictions is one of the most healthful foods we can consume.

"That's such a good thing for those who love chocolate," says registered dietitian Allison Knott.

This past fall, a limited study of almonds and chocolate by the American Heart Association found that this tasty combination may help lower cholesterol, as almonds are known to be one of the healthiest nuts on the planet. Further studies need to be made to conclude this association between almonds and chocolate, but until then, you can feel better indulging in this tasty snack.

photo Anne Braly

The health benefits of chocolate center on compounds called flavanols, which are found in cocoa.