As a child I knew it was special – it said so on the label. My mom also liked it best and she’s pretty smart! Of course, because she liked it I got a lot more exposure to it. We NEVER bought milk chocolate or white chocolate if we could buy dark chocolate. There is no question about it. While flowers brighten up any room, dark chocolate is the hands-down wellness winner for Valentines Day gifts. Theobroma cacao, with it’s combination of nutrients and phytochemicals it improves mood, mental alertness, and mitigates risks of many metabolic diseases.
Here’s my top 11 reasons to not only choose chocolate for your sweetheart, but to consider eating up to an ounce every day.
- Tastes fabulous.
- Wards off depression and improves PMS. Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine, and MAO inhibitors which help make you happy.
- Reduces bad “LDL” cholesterol (via polyphenols).
- Helps reduce blood pressure (the effect on nitric oxide reducing blood pressure)
- Improves the fat composition of your diet (via oleic fatty-acid a good omega-9)
- May reduce blood clots. Flavanoids keep fatty substances from sticking together).
- Keeps you energized without excessive effect of caffeine (via the compound theobromine). It has also been found to help those with chronic fatigue.
- Improves insulin resistance to reduce risk of high blood sugar.
- Makes you smarter. Cocoa flavanols, the naturally occurring compounds in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, thus offering future potential for dementia and stroke
- Provides important minerals like copper, manganese, and magnesium.
- Chocolate and strawberries are known aphrodisiacs!
Be aware that scientists consistently report that dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa has the greatest benefit, but semi-sweet dark chocolate which has 50-60% cocoa (and more sugar) is also very beneficial. Milk chocolate, although quite tasty and richer in calcium, typically has only 7-35% cacao so is not as healthful as dark chocolate.
Thatʻs why a little bit of dark chocolate is not a sometimes food but an everyday food for me!
Beware!! Finally, like most good things too much can cause problems. Excessive chocolate intake can make you gain weight and cause constipation.