Most American chocolate now is terrible. (I remember a couple of years ago, when they allowed manufacturers to use not-chocolate as chocolate. Yuck.) And even if you find some real chocolate, keep checking the label because when candy companies get taken over, the new owners often replace the better ingredients.

The best chocolate I ever had was from Venezuela — all hail, the people’s republic!

We all know that many women love chocolate. But does chocolate, in effect, love them back? Well, a new study provides new evidence that eating chocolate can protect a woman’s heart.

Murray Middleman of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues studied 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, examining how much chocolate the women ate compared with their risk for heart failure over a nine-year period.

Women who ate an average of one or two servings each week of what is considered high-quality chocolate because it contains a higher density of cocoa had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, which is published by the American Heart Association. Those who had one to three servings per month had a 26 percent lower risk.

But there appears to be a limit. Women who consumed at least one serving each day or more did not appear to benefit from a protective effect against heart failure, the researchers found. The researchers speculate that the reason for that may be that the additional calories of eating that much chocolate instead of more nutritious foods counteracts any beneficial effects.