Many humans find chocolate to be tasty, and as Valentine’s Day approaches, it is often offered as a display of amore between lovers. Did you know chocolate can have other benefits besides making your taste buds dance?
Flavonoids are plant chemicals rich in antioxidants. They can be found in many nutritious foods like oranges, almonds, cabbage, and also in dark chocolate. Jennifer J. Brown, PhD at Everyday Health says, “Studies show that people who eat dark chocolate have healthier cardiovascular systems, including better blood circulation, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and fewer strokes.” This recipe for Dark Chocolate Detox Bites perfectly pairs a serving of chocolate with dried fruits and nuts.
Curb Sweet Cravings
If you have a sweet tooth, but you’re also mindful about your waistline, dark chocolate may be the snack you should reach for. On Eat This, Not That! Tiffany Gagnon explains, “With most weight-loss plans you end up cutting back a lot on sweets and sugary foods, but a small amount of dark chocolate each day can help prevent you from reaching for something higher in sugar and lower in nutritional value.” These chocolate treats are simple to make and delicious.
Studies suggest that consuming antioxidant abundant varieties of chocolate in moderation can lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. This is the stuff that can clog your arteries. It can also raise HDL or “good” cholesterol in the same way olive oil can. The good form of cholesterol helps remove the bad types of cholesterol from your body. Try this super quick cocoa dusted almond recipe as a cholesterol friendly snack.
The Chemical of Love
Touted as an aphrodisiac back in the day, chocolate naturally contains an array of chemicals that can trick your brain into putting you in the mood for love. Ishtar explains, “The brain releases oxytocin every time you hug someone and every time you eat chocolate, which is surely a wonderful reason to do both at the same time.” Make a date of it and whip up these chocolate covered strawberries with your significant other.
Studies have shown that eating cocoa actually improves brain function. Robert H. Shmerling, MD at Harvard Health quips, “Did you know that places where chocolate consumption is highest have the most Nobel Prize recipients?” He goes on to say, while there may not be an actual correlation between Nobel Prizes and chocolate eaters, “Several studies demonstrated evidence of improved brain blood flow, oxygen levels, or nerve function as measured by imaging tests or tests of electrical activity in the brain after the consumption of cocoa drinks.” I think I’m sold. This recipe for German Chocolate Brain Bombs should do the trick.
Everything is good in moderation, but with all its healthy properties, chocolate may be even better than just good. Go ahead and indulge in a little snack with your partner.