Friday, February 14, 2014

5 reasons to eat chocolate with your Valentine

from a happy Valentine!
photo: Lisa Ramshaw
In this crazy world where sugar is bad but (dark) chocolate is good, and alcohol is bad but red wine is good, on Valentine's Day it seems right to focus on the good bits!

So here are 5 reasons to eat chocolate with your Valentine (note: they apply to other days too):

1. Dark chocolate is good for your heart(s). Not any old chocolate, but chocolate with cocoa content of 70% or higher is rich in flavonoids, which help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Darker chocolate also contains cancer-fighting enzymes and boosts the immune system. That's like 3 in 1.

(Valentine's bonus: Red wine also contains flavonoids, as well as the substance resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar and LDL or "bad" cholesterol).  OK, yes, fruits and veggies contain flavonoids too.

2. Flavonoids again, this time in their capacity as antioxidants. The flavonoid compounds in a plant help to protect it from environmental toxins and repair damage. Antioxidants in our foods may do the same - they fight damage to our cells caused by free radicals formed from pollutants, like smoke, or our bodily processes, which is thought to slow the aging process.

3. Dark chocolate helps to relieve stress by lowering the levels of stress hormones in stressed-out people who eat it. It contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that encourages the brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate can make you feel happier. Like you're falling in love.

4. Chocolate helps keep the mind of older people sharp (important to remember what your Valentine looks like!)

5. The theobromine in cocoa has been shown to harden tooth enamel, so dark chocolate can actually help to lower your risk of cavities (but keep brushing).

6. And, apparently, some chocolate provides superhuman energy...enjoy!

sigh, chocolate = skinny = still a fantasy

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