When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of chocolate. So in honour of today’s holiday (which I happen to despise), I thought I would research the health benefits of chocolate! Believe it or not, it appears there are actually some health benefits associated with eating dark chocolate. Here are a few key points that I found:
- Dark chocolate contains flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that can help protect you from damage caused by free radicals
- Consuming dark chocolate may help reduce blood pressure, as well as elevate HDL (or “good”) cholesterol and decrease inflammation
- Dark chocolate may act as an anti-depressant
- Consumption of dark chocolate may protect against cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes
- For the most part, it is unclear what “dose” is needed in order to reap these benefits
Unfortunately, a lot of the information says chocolate “may” contribute to such health benefits. Research hasn’t been entirely conclusive. I say…. chocolate’s okay once in a while as long as it is consumed in MODERATION! Here are a few tips to help you avoid chowing down on that entire box of chocolates your sweetie so kindly purchased for you:
- I know this is WAY easier said than done…. but just eat one! All you really need is a little taste. Think of the stomach ache you’ll get after plowing through 10 of those bad boys.
- Instead of whole pieces of chocolate, try melting a small (I repeat, SMALL) handful of dark chocolate chips and drizzling them over a mountain of fresh fruit.
- Make some Chocolate Nut Bark with dark chocolate chips (or the contents of your box of chocolates). I found this recipe on EatingWell.com. Apparently it is considered “healthy” (i.e. 74 calories and 5 grams of fat per piece). I would personally add half nuts/half dried fruit in order to cut a bit more fat out of this recipe.
- If all else fails, ask your significant other to hide the chocolate from you. Seriously. I know how difficult it can be to walk away… Your mind always seems to say.. “Just ONE MORE!”
As much as I hate this holiday, I hope you all enjoy your day and get a chance to spend some time with the ones you love!
To my sweetie: if you are reading this, I hope you got me flowers. They tend to last a lot longer than chocolate ;)