For the Love of Chocolate and All It’s Health Benefits – Happy Valentine’s Day!

chocolateI must confess.  I eat a small piece of dark chocolate almost every night.  And no I don’t feel one bit guilty.  Have you had those wonderful little individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolate squares with the sea salt and almonds mixed in?  I think I’m in love.  Speaking of love, if someone isn’t showing you love by giving you some good quality dark chocolate today, don’t you dare sit up there and pout about it.  Who’s gonna love you if you don’t even show love to yourself?  If you haven’t done so already, be sure to love yourself and treat yourself to some of the best dark chocolate you can find.  Here are 5 good reasons why.

1.  Dark chocolate loves your heart.  A study conducted at the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute supports the finding that dark chocolate is one of our best defenses against heart disease.  Rich in polyphenols, the same protective chemical found in red wine and green tea, chocolate has the ability to lower your risk of coronary disease.  Polyphenols inhibit the clumping of blood platelets, which leads to atherosclerosis.  They also inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which leads to heart disease.

2.  A square of dark chocolate a day, my nightly prescription, is proven to lower blood pressure due to it’s richness in  flavanols, the same antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries, also found in cranberries, onions, tea, and again, red wine.

3.  Dark chocolate even has love for diabetics.   In an Italian study as well as a Japanese study, cocoa rich in flavanols was found to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels.  This chocolate must be really low in sugar however.  So dark, dark chocolate is what’s called for here.

4. Dark chocolate makes you feel good.  High in endorphins that just lift your spirits and make you feel nice, dark chocolate has the power to lessen pain and even reduce stress according to a Nestlé study.

5.  You love dark chocolate.  You just may not know it yet.  You can train your palate to move away from the unhealthier milk chocolate if that’s your current idea of good chocolate, and move on to the real treasure.  There are studies that also reveal an addictive property found in dark chocolate.  So don’t go for the 5 pound chocolate heart.  The small one will do just fine.

I could go on and on about the benefits of dark chocolate, but mine is calling me so I better go indulge.  See’s, Ghirardelli, Godiva, Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, what’s your pleasure?  

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