I know what you’re thinking – chocolate for Valentine’s Day? How cliché! The truth is, dark chocolate is the perfect (and healthy) way to celebrate your love. In case you need a little extra convincing, here are three great reasons why you should share a square with your sweetheart on February 14th:
1. Dark chocolate is beneficial for your heart. Per ounce, dark chocolate delivers more polyphenol antioxidants than blueberries, green tea or red wine! When consumed in moderation (do not eat the entire bar in one day, no matter how tempting!), all those antioxidants can provide protection against free radicals and can support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol already within normal range. What’s not to love about that?
2. Dark chocolate makes you feel good. Duh – this one may seem obvious, but did you know there’s a scientific reason why popping a piece of chocolate can put you a good mood? A certain compound in chocolate called phenyl ethylamine can stimulate the production of endorphins, which contributes to that happy feeling you get when it melts in your mouth. Chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine, which can promote healthy mood and concentration.
(Do you really need another reason?)
3. Dark chocolate contains healthy minerals. If you’re going to snack on something sweet, it might as well be something that contains essential minerals! Dark chocolate provides copper, magnesium, potassium and iron.
- Forget white or milk chocolate. For optimal health benefits, look for high-quality dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa content.
- To show your partner you’re totally nuts about him (or her), give a bar with added fruit and nuts, or a bag of gourmet chocolate-covered almonds!
- Nibble, don’t gorge. Dark chocolate contains calories and fat, so just one or two small squares per day is the perfect amount for a balanced diet.