This Valentine’s Day, indulge in a bit of nutrient-dense chocolate. Hailed as a super food as scientists begin to identify all the benefits of the cacao bean, it’s loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that can help ward off many common lifestyle diseases. The key is consuming the right chocolate – raw, unprocessed cacoa beans or nibs, or at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate. Not your typical candy bar loaded with fat, sugar and other fillers!
Some of the potential benefits of eating chocolate are:
- Lowering cholesterol levels and relaxing blood pressure
- Preventing cognitive decline – Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate “can help preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain”. Compounds in chocolate may reduce or block damage to nerve pathways in the brain.
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems
- Protecting against type-2 diabetes – due to the high levels of flavonoids in chocolate (also found in tea, berries and wine)
- Preventing obesity – certain antioxidants in chocolate are said to lower blood sugar levels and possibly prevent weight gain
As most people instinctively realize, chocolate also releases certain feel good chemicals, or endorphins naturally produced by the brain “that generate feelings of pleasure and promote a sense of well being.”
On Valentine’s Day, promote well-being and buy your loved ones some healthy chocolates! And, when you next crave a cup of steaming hot chocolate on a snowy day or a piece of chocolate to boost your mood, go for it. Your body knows what it needs. Just make sure it’s a moderate amount of the right kind. Moderate amount? That’s not always easy for chocoholics like me!
Watch this short video on the amazing benefits of eating a little chocolate everyday!
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.