February 10, 2014
A Guilt-Free Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is up and coming, which means that people everywhere are checking out prices on flowers, champagne, and chocolate. For many, the most exciting of these is chocolate. The delicious confection has a hold on many a man, woman, and child the world around. Instead of feeling bad about our devotion to chocolate, this year why not enjoy some chocolate knowing the benefits. I speak, of course, about dark chocolate, the chocolate that is actually good for us.
Recently, I received an email newsletter from my local fruit and veg market announcing their Valentine’s Day specials, which included chocolate, of course. In it, they listed five benefits of dark chocolate:
- Healthy Heart. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your blood flow, help prevent the formation of blood clots and lower your blood pressure.
- Good for your Brain. Improving your blood flow will increase your cognitive functions. Dark Chocolate can also reduce your risks of stroke.
- Steady Blood Sugar. Choosing a higher quality chocolate with a natural sugar will keep your blood sugar levels from spiking.
- Chock full of Antioxidants. Eating Anti-oxidants rich foods can protect you from many types of cancer and slow down the aging process.
- Lifts your Spirit. Dark Chocolate contains a chemical that encourages your brain to release endorphins which will make you feel happier. This chemical is the same chemical your brain releases when you are falling in love.
I decided that I wanted to know if these were true. So, I went first to redOrbit where I found information about dark chocolate’s effect for a healthy heart. Turns out that the flavanols (the powerful antioxidant found in dark chocolate) definitely have a positive impact on the heart. Additionally, dark chocolate lowers blood pressure as reported by WebMD. This means that it also increases blood flow thus it is good for the brain. Okay, that is two of the five benefits supported.
Now, let’s move onto the blood sugar claim. It turns out that in moderation, dark chocolate does help lower and control blood sugar according to one Huffington Post article. Plus, last year I wrote about the association between lower amounts of body fat and moderate dark chocolate intake. Okay, so that’s claim number three supported.
We already know that dark chocolate holds powerful antioxidants, and we know that a good piece of dark chocolate can make us feel oh-so good. Yes, I would say that this year, a nice box of dark chocolate will do the trick.
But wait! There’s more. Fit Day reports that dark chocolate is full of vitamins and minerals including potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. And a different Huffington Post article identifies that dark chocolate has beauty benefits including the following:
- repairing dry skin
- shielding against those dangerous UV rays
- erasing wrinkles and fine lines
- adding shine to lackluster hair
- promoting hair growth.
With this surfeit of reasons to eat more dark chocolate, what chocolate lover could resist? As always, it is important to eat in moderation, but this Valentine’s Day, enjoy a guilt-free moment as you revel in the goodness of that bite of dark chocolate. It’ll do your mind, body, and soul some good.
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