What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate?
Here are the top 5 benefits of dark chocolate:
1. Prevents Heart Disease- like green tea and wine, dark chocolate has polyphenols, which act as potent antioxidants. These polyphenols can actually lower LDL cholesterol by 10%.
2. Improves Mood- dark chocolate releases endorphins, and also contains the chemical serotonin. Both these chemicals make us feel good. It also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you fall in love.
3. Skin Protection- researchers in Germany found that flavonoids in chocolate absorb UV light and increase blood flow. They even saw improvements in complexion.
4. High in Vitamins and Minerals- dark chocolate contains potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. The copper and potassium help prevent stroke and heart problems. The iron can protect against iron deficiency, and the magnesium prevents type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
5. Contains Theobromine- This chemical has been shown to harden tooth enamel, which can prevent cavities. This is a close relative to caffeine which also enhances mood.
The definition of dark chocolate is somewhat loosely termed. Most recipes calling for dark chocolate contain about 60% cocoa. But the cocoa content of commercial dark chocolate can range from 30% (sweet dark) to 70-80%.
The down-side. Is there any?
The fat content from the cocoa butter is high in saturated fat. but most of this fat is stearic acid, which studies have shown does not raise cholesterol. Milk chocolate on the other hand, contains butterfat, which can raise cholesterol and is lower in antioxidants.
Happy Valentine’s Day!