Let’s Talk About Chocolate

Food

Box of chocolateChocolate is one of my favorite things and I believe I am not alone on this one!

As we approach Valentine’s Day, the sales of chocolate everywhere will jump. According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, candy—I am thinking mainly chocolate here—accounts for 47 percent of gifts given on Valentine’s Day. How many people associate the day with a big heart shaped box of chocolate? I know I do.

Women are not alone in their love of chocolate; I really believe my husband is a closet chocoholic—he just doesn’t like to admit it. I am sure that there are many of men out there who feel the same as he does.

Chocolate has been around for over two centuries. The Aztecs and the Mayans believed chocolate had magical properties as well as some mood-altering capabilities. Chocolate was used in many of their special rituals. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, anthropologists found what seemed to be the fermented pulp of the Cacao fruit that surrounds the bean, which was used to make alcoholic beverages. Now that sounds like it would have been good; I know that having some chocolate always makes me happier!

In 17th century Europe they made a chocolate drink that was believed to have nutritious, medicinal, and even aphrodisiac properties—Casanova was rumored to be especially fond of it. Who knows, maybe that is how chocolate came to be so popular and associated with love? Here is a brief video on the history of chocolate for those looking to learn more.

Some kinds of chocolate can also be good for your heart because cocoa beans are full of flavonoids. According to the Mayo Clinic and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, flavonoids help reduce and repair cell damage caused by heart disease. Flavonoids can also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. Some research also linked eating chocolate to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. There are more flavonoids in dark chocolate versus milk or white chocolate; cocoa is also a great source.

Not all chocolate is healthy, and you do have to watch your consumption, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about having just a little bit anymore. Just make sure to watch the fat and sugar content, and don’t over indulge!

A loving relationship and a healthy dose of chocolate are good for a healthy heart and perfect for American Heart month and Valentine’s Day! So if you do get some chocolate for Valentine’s Day, enjoy it. It may be good for you in more ways than you think!

PS: A study done by Cadbury in 2007 found that 52 percent of women would choose chocolate over sex. Take to the comments section to let us know which you would prefer: sex or chocolate?

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