BUTLER, Mo. – Charles Schultz once said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 

Americans apparently agree with the Peanuts creator, because an estimated 58 million pounds of chocolate will be bought for Valentine’s Day this year.

For the health conscious, fruit dipped in chocolate is a great choice.

“You could have chocolate-covered strawberries, and that’s good in two ways,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist for University of Missouri Extension. “Both chocolate and strawberries contain antioxidants that improve immune function and lower the risk of infection.”

You can make chocolate dipped fruits even healthier if you choose dark chocolate.

“We get flavonoids in dark chocolate, which research shows trigger the production of natural enzymes that fight disease,” Roberts said.

Fat and sugar keep chocolate from receiving an unreserved two thumbs-up. But eaten in moderation, it’s a sweet way to show your valentine your love.

“When you give your valentine a basket full of fruit with just a little bit of chocolate, you’re really showing the very best kind of love,” Roberts said. “You’re giving them a lot of antioxidants and vitamin-C, with just enough chocolate to make it exciting.”

For more information, see “Chocolate covered strawberries: A healthy alternative” at

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