Chocolate is one of those anomalies in that it not only tastes delicious, but it also happens to have a variety of awesome health benefits. You’ve probably read some of the studies and heard the reports. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, including flavonoids, and other beneficial properties that make it a nutritious treat. While there are many reasons to relish that daily piece of chocolate, here are 3 that show why dark chocolate is the perfect way to celebrate your love for that special someone, friend, coworker or yourself!
1) Good for your heart. Dark chocolate is often touted for its cardiovascular benefits and for good reason. It’s been shown to improve cholesterol by reducing total and LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. One study published in 2015 involving questionnaires from over 20-thousand participants found that those who ate dark chocolate on a regular basis had reduced incidences of cardiovascular disease and strokes than those who avoided chocolate. No wonder Valentine’s Day falls on American Heart Month!
2) Good for your mind. Stressed out about a project or exam? Eat a square of dark chocolate! Thanks to the combination of caffeine and a compound called theobromine, dark chocolate can increase alertness and memory by improving blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate can also improve your mood. How? It contains tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. This is all the more reason to feel good about being a chocoholic.
3) Good for the body. Dark chocolate protects the skin by helping block the sun and also reducing cell damage. In addition, moderate consumption of dark chocolate may be one of the only desserts that aid in weight management. The reason is partly because of the soluble fiber it contains and also because of its metabolic effect on the body.
So what do you want to look for in a dark chocolate? Well, the higher the chocolate content, the better. That means if you want to reap the health benefits of chocolate, you’ll want to choose one with more than 65% cocao content and limit or skip milk and white chocolate varieties all together. While, like everything, it’s always best to eat chocolate mindfully and in moderation, feel good knowing that a great way to show someone you care is by giving the gift of chocolate.
stay tuned.. tomorrow I will be sharing my recipe for special Valentine’s Day dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
What are you all doing for Valentine’s Day?