Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and the best gifts are flowers, wine, and CHOCOLATE! While milk chocolate and white chocolate are very sweet and tasty, dark chocolate contains many health benefits! Here are just a few of the main ones:
1. Dark chocolate starts out as the seed of the cacao tree. The less refined (less processed and less sugar), the better quality.
2. Dark chocolate contains fiber and many minerals!
Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Selenium!
3. Dark chocolate is an antioxidant! One study found that dark chocolate contains more antioxidant properties than blueberries or acai berries! Now just imagine dipping these in melted dark chocolate for a healthy treat!
4. Dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate stimulates the release of Nitric Oxide (NO). NO causes the blood vessels to relax, thus lowering blood pressure. Is the stress at work causing your blood pressure to rise? Have a piece of dark chocolate and then stop by Scatko Family Chiropractic for a relaxing treatment!
5. Dark chocolate can help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol). LDL can become oxidized within the body and this will result in damage to the heart and blood vessels. Since dark chocolate is a natural antioxidant, it will help to remove the oxidized LDL and reduce the chance for damage.
6. Dark chocolate also helps protect the skin! The flavanols found within dark chocolate are known to protect the skin from damaging UVB rays. A study showed that consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis over 12 weeks helped double the skin's protection against UVB rays. This seems like an easy and tasty way to prepare for your next beach trip!
7. Dark chocolate also helps stimulate brain function! The amounts of caffeine and theobromine found within dark chocolate stimulate the brain which results in better brain functioning. Feeling the mid-day slump at work? Snack on a piece of dark chocolate for a brain boost!
Wow! Dark chocolate is really impressive when it comes to being nutritious and healthy! However, not all dark chocolate is created equal. Look for organic dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao.
An easy way to enjoy the benefits of dark chocolate this Valentine's Day is to melt high quality chocolate (as described above) in a double boiler and then dip strawberries in it. Let them cool on wax paper and enjoy!
Have a great Valentine's Day everyone!