Would you believe that I’m not even a big Valentine’s Day fan?!
The Hubs and I always get each other a card and a little gift but it’s really not an all out thing for us. Because we are heading to Hawaii next week (woo hoo!) we’ve decided we will do an honorary Valentine’s dinner… Hawaii-style!
So, you may have seen me mention on the blog that I’m a H U G E dark chocolate lover. It really is my weakness – I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but put dark chocolate in the mix and I’m all over it like bees on honey. The good thing about my little “D.C.” obsession? Dark chocolate actually has a ton of health benefits!
Just to be clear, when I’m talking about dark chocolate, I mean high quality, 70% or higher chocolate that is organic, fair trade, sweetened with unrefined sugar, and not processed with alkali! Some brands I love are Theo, Green & Blacks, Alter Eco, Endangered Species and Mast Brothers. It’s definitely worth spending a little more moola for these beautiful chocolate brands… the first Mast Brothers chocolate bar I got when I was in Seattle this summer was so nice I didn’t even want to open the beautiful wrapping but I’m sure glad I did – D E L I C I O U S!
So what are the H E A L T H B E N E F I T S of dark chocolate?
- it is bursting with antioxidants that help combat disease in the body! Antioxidants work by preventing or delaying cell damage caused by oxidation as the cumulative effect of oxidation in the body can lead to disease.
- it is full of flavanols! No, that’s not a spelling error meant to say flavour – dark chocolate IS full of flavour AND flavanols; plant-derived nutrients found in cocoa. These nutrients have been proven to slow age-related memory decline and help prevent heart attacks and strokes!
- it improves blood flow in the body which can lower blood pressure. The improved blood flow to the brain also increases cognitive function…so, in essence… it might even make you smarter!
- it is a source of iron, copper, manganese and magnesium all of which provide health benefits including lessened fatigue and reduced anxiety.
- it contains theobromane, a phytochemical that has a natural stimulating effect to promote energy without putting a stress on the nervous system or adrenal glands. It also helps to lower blood pressure by naturally dilating the blood vessels.
- it contains cocoa butter which is a source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and beneficial fats!
As you can see – dark chocolate is the cats meow. However, I must add this disclaimer – enjoy in moderation. Even though dark chocolate has all these great benefits it does pack a calorie punch, so it is best to limit your consumption to 1 ounce a day or less! (second disclaimer: there may or may not have been more than 1 ounce of dark chocolate consumed as I was taking these photos…)
A little goes a long way with this delicious, rich, cocoa bean treat so no need to overload!
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day I hope you enjoy a little healthy dark chocolate for the occasion… Nutritionists orders!
Nutritionist in the Kitch