With Valentines Day on a couple of days away, I thought I would talk about a topic near and dear to my heart, Chocolate.
Chocolate is plant-based food coming from the cacao beans, seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. Chocolate has been around for thousands of years and the Mayans and Aztecs believed cacao beans had magical properties. Chocolate is brimming with a potent source of antioxidants, maybe they are the magical properties the Mayans and the Aztecs believed in.
- Improves heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and making blood platelets less sticky.
- Helps to improve the quality of the skin, by promoting collagen production.
- Improves mood by releasing endorphins.
- Reduces risks of developing high blood pressure and stroke.
- Helps to lower cholesterol levels.
- Reduces appetite by creating the feeling of satiety.
- Decreases stress hormone levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, digestive problems and depression.
- Helps the body utilize sugar better, reducing the risks and complications of diabetes.
- Decreases inflammation associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Reduces memory loss and can slow dementia.
Currently, there is on–going research into the benefits of chocolate. I am sure the list of benefits will grow. But for now, there are plenty of benefits to add chocolate in moderation to a healthy diet.
To reap all the healthful benefits of chocolate, look for dark chocolate that is minimally processed. Also, look for at least 65 percent cacao and cocoa powder that has not gone through Dutch processing. If you are lucky enough to receive chocolates for Valentine’s Day, go ahead and indulge.