Oh, the most romantic of holidays, and my personal favorite, Valentine’s Day. February is also Heart Health month and, lucky for us, chocolate can be beneficial for both! For many of us, chocolate is a must in our diets. So it is helpful to know more about its health benefits and health risks.
Chocolate has several benefits. It is the highest food source of magnesium. Those low in magnesium often crave chocolate. Magnesium is essential for a healthy heart. It helps to relax muscles. People who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who ate no chocolate, according to a research analysis released at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting just several days ago. In addition, chocolate is a rich source of powerful antioxidant flavonoids. When the antioxidant status of the blood increases, it helps protect us from inflammation and damage to the heart and blood vessels. It also results in improved blood pressure, decreased LDL oxidation and may guard DNA from damage that can lead to cancer.
Apart from these health advantages, chocolate just tastes good (14 out of 10 individuals love chocolate!). It also contains a chemical that reproduces the feeling of falling in love. And it contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant, stimulating endorphin production. That makes us feel fabulous!
Alas, the danger is in too much of a good thing. In spite of the benefits obtained from eating dark organic chocolate, it contains oxalic acid which interfers with calcium absorption, and the caffeine may keep you up at night. (read more here…)