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Oh yes ladies (ok guys, you can join the party too), this one is for you.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going to give you reasons why you SHOULD be enjoying chocolate (dark chocolate that is) every day.  YES, I said every day. Now listen up…

Dark Chocolate:

  • High in flavanols (sub-class of polyphenols). These concentrated antioxidants fight free radical damage which causes disease. 
  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by improving blood flow
  • Offers a satiated feeling that reduces cravings for sugar and high fat foods
  • Reduction of LDL cholesterol
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • Helps regulate stress hormones. *when stressed, reach for an ounce of the good stuff* 🙂
  • Flavanols increase blood flow to parts of the brain. *Want to get smarter? Eat more chocolate.*
  • Chemicals found in the cocao bean affect our brain, and evoke feelings of love and euphoria.

What to look for when buying dark chocolate:

  • 70% cocao or higher. The higher the percentage of cocoa the higher the antioxidant content.
  • High quality. Brands like Hershey’s are highly processed.  You will pay more for a better brand, but it will be worth it.
  • Go organic if possible.
  • Look at the sugar content. Some bars will have more sugar than others and should be avoided.

 

*Did you know that not all chocolate is created equal?  According to Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, milk has been shown to hinder the absorption of antioxidants and negate the health benefits of eating dark chocolate.  Interesting right? That means stick to dark, even though milk chocolate is unbelievably delicious, especially Cadburys. Hmmm… alright, maybe you can have a little milk chocolate every once in a while, for a treat.  We are only human after all. ;)*

I have a pretty adventurous palate when it comes to food, and like to try new things often. However, I do have brands that I will frequently buy.

Here are my favorites:

My favorite time to eat dark chocolate is after lunch. As a matter of fact…I haven’t had any today. Be right back! Ummm…there is no chocolate in my house! NOOOO!!! Alright, well it looks I’m going to store, NOW!!!  🙂 Till next time…

Wishing you all radiant health and a Happy Valentine’s Day!

References:

http://www.medicinehunter.com/chocolate_love_drug

http://www.allchocolate.com/health/basics/antioxidant_effects.aspx

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/benefits-of-chocolate?page=9

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate

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