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Because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, we are celebrating the healthy joy of chocolate in this week’s blog.
The Mayo clinic has noted, “February is the month for chocolate!” Check here for their healthy take on a Valentine chocolate dessert.
Did you know chocolate lowers blood pressure and increases circulation? Studies have also shown that the cocoa in chocolate can help to protect your brain from stroke.
Dr. Al Sears stated, “One study, that followed almost 34,000 women from 1998 to 2008, found that those who ate 50 grams of chocolate a week were up to 27% less likely to have a stroke.” Another study proved that consuming 50 grams of chocolate once a week made patients 46% less likely to die following a stroke than those who didn’t eat chocolate.
Why Is Chocolate Good For You?
There are several reasons chocolate has been making it big in the news lately:
One of the less publicized qualities of chocolate was recently listed by Fitday researchers
“Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.” Scientists have also noted that chocolate can be also a mild stimulant, though not as strong as caffeine, and it can be a mild cough suppressant.
You can also fight inflammation with Flavonoids. Inflammation contributes to: heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other chronic diseases. You can find antioxidant flavonoids in vegetables, tea, and coffee, but these are not traditional valentine’s gifts. flavonoids also exist in red wine, which we all know is good for the heart, and not a bad Valentine gift!
According to experts, “studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.” Likewise, this wonderful food, once known as “food of the gods,” can reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind of cholesterol) by up to 10 percent!
Cocoa has more brain-protecting picatechins than any of these, and “dark chocolate contains up to four times the antioxidants found in tea,” according to Dr. Al Sears. Whether your valentine gives you chocolate in a red velvet heart or a paper bag, be sure he or she knows it is the right kind of chocolate, dark, rich, healthy chocolate.
Here is a special list for your chocolate-shopping sweetie:
1. Look for 70% or more cocoa because it is the ingredient that contains all the aforementioned health benefits.
2. No marshmallow goo, naughty nougat or caramel calories, please! Be sure to check how much sugar is added to the chocolate you choose. A low amount of natural sugar is acceptable, but we hope you avoid artificial sweeteners.
3. Step Away From The Chemicals! Look for chocolate that has pure ingredients. Avoid the additives.
4. Check the health-food stores for good chocolate; they know it’s the perfect season to sell fine organic chocolate.
You can usually find good, healthy, high quality chocolate at a health-food store.
In fact, there has been such a favorable spotlight on this tasty treat that it is now appearing on grocery store shelves everywhere.
We Suggest that you just advise your sweetheart to read the label so he or she will know the are buying you high quality, real cocoa-saturated chocolate.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our readers and friends, from the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine.