Valentine’s Day is almost here and if you are dreading all of the candy and goodies that accompany this sweet holiday, here’s one less thing to fret over – Dark Chocolate. According to studies, Dark Chocolate actually offers a variety of health benefits in addition to its signature delicious taste. Now, I’m not saying go out and eat 50 Milk Chocolate candy bars full of high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial flavors, but rather try the Dark Chocolate variety.
I love pure Dark Chocolate. And here’s why:
Super Sweet Super-Food:
The main ingredient in dark chocolate is Cacao. Cacao is a superfood, rich in flavonoids and theobromine, two chemicals known for being beneficial to your immune system and over all diseases-fighting effectiveness. Although theobromine is related to caffeine and exerts similar effects, theobromine does not affect the body through central nervous system stimulation. Instead, it induces muscular relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue and lasts longer than caffeine. Theobromine also allows for more blood flow because it causes the blood vessels to dilate. It allows endurance athletes to work at a high intensity for much longer than otherwise.
Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments, and are one of the reasons fruits and vegetables AND chocolate is so good for you. Among the many benefits attributed to flavonoids are reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and stroke. Flavonoids, like other antioxidants, do their work in the body by corralling cell-damaging free radicals and metallic ions.
Tame your cravings:
But perhaps most important of all when it comes to candy, Dark Chocolate can actually reduce cravings! YES. By indulging just a little bit in a healthier sweet such as Dark Chocolate, you can actually help to reduce future cravings. The reason it works is because your body tastes the chocolate, registers that it has gotten some sugar and then the craving is satisfied. It is just enough to please the palate, but not enough to make you want more. You will find that with this one little indulgence, your sweet urge will be satisfied and you won’t go off on a crazy sugar rampage.
Brain Lobe Love:
Chocolate doesn’t only increase blood flow to your heart, it also increases blood flow to your brain which can improve cognitive function, your moods, as well as reduce your risk of stroke. Chocolate contains Phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. How this works is that PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins and in the words of Reese Witherspoon, “…Endorphins make you happy!”. What’s not to LOVE about that?
Go out, enjoy your Valentine’s Day and show your tummy a little love with this sweet, and surprisingly beneficial treat. Say Yes! to dark chocolate.
Owner/CEO, Elite Trainer, Nutritionist
Santa Cruz Core Fitness + Rehab
Santa Cruz, Ca 95062