You know you’re going to indulge today and I’m here to tell you… go for it!
If you haven’t already heard, chocolate is good for us! In its purist form – raw cacao – chocolate has a plethora of benefits. So the good news is: eating something sweet and delicious can actually be rewarding for us health-wise!
Here’s why: dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, which makes it pretty powerful. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than green tea and red wine. On a day that celebrates the heart, that's good news!
Having said that, I may have to ruin your plans to grab that handful of Hershey’s kisses next to your long-stem roses. The fact is, not all chocolates are created equal. Many manufacturers sell chocolate – or items that contain chocolate – but they really have zero cacao.
Read labels! When eating chocolate, the darker the better. When chocolate is darker, it contains less sugar and more cacao, the superfood. Although many nutritionists and health care professionals recommend people consume dark chocolate containing 50% cacao, I recommend we eat dark chocolate containing no less than 70% cacao. This is a healthier ratio and means that the 70% chocolate bar we’re ogling contains significantly less sugar than bars with 50% cacao – but it will still satisfy your sweet tooth!
OK, so now that I’ve given you the green light for dark chocolate, here are the reasons why eating it is so beneficial to our health:
Studies show that eating dark chocolate can decrease the risk of heart disease because dark chocolate aids in lowering blood pressure and can reduce hypertension.
Including dark chocolate in our diets helps prevent sugar cravings, which then helps us to reduce all that snacking and bingeing which can lead to weight loss. Best news ever!
Elevates our moods!
Who needs Xanax when we can have dark chocolate? The cacao in dark chocolate has been shown to significantly increase feelings of calmness in adults. It also contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical our brains create when we feel like we’re falling in love. Dark chocolate just makes us feel happier – it’s the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day!
Good for our brains!
Eating dark chocolate can help improve cognitive function and helps reduce the risk of stroke. Genius!
Science shows that eating dark chocolate can give us surges of extra energy. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which is a mild stimulant. Maybe not as strong as caffeine, but it’ll definitely give us a bit of a boost and – let’s face it – it tastes a whole lot better!
So today, when your Valentine gives you chocolate, go for those darker ones and indulge…just not the whole box of course – despite all its benefits, dark chocolate does still have calories, so try and stick to no more than one to two servings a day....
And remember: the purer the chocolate, the more satisfied you will be.
All we really need is love… and a little bit of chocolate!
Happy Valentine’s Day!