If you’re still scrambling to find the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, consider passing up the typical box of Russell Stover for a healthier gift of dark chocolate. Although most of us are aware of this super food’s heart healthy benefits, there are other reasons why you should be enjoying a little dark chocolate every day.
Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which act as antioxidants. These flavonoids help protect cells from free radicals which can eventually lead illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Flavonoids have also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure by up to 10 percent.
Good for the libido: A compound found in dark chocolate called phenylethylamine releases the same endorphins triggered by sex. Not only do these endorphins increase the feelings of attractions between two people, but are also linked to better sexual function.
Mood enhancer: Endorphins are commonly associated with exercise, but eating dark chocolate also stimulates the production of this feel good hormone. Dark chocolate also contains serotonin, another feel good hormone that helps prevent depression.
Not all chocolate is created equal, so be sure to choose a brand that has at least 70% cocoa and keep your portions in check. A one-ounce serving of dark chocolate per day is more than enough to reap all the health benefits mentioned above. Be sure to add a little romance to your Valentine’s Day by surprising your loved one with some dark chocolate covered strawberries.
Wishing you a very heart healthy Valentine’s Day!