I love chocolate. In fact, my craving has gotten so bad, that I ate a packet of Swiss Miss hot coco mix the other day. (I wish I were kidding.)
Since there will probably be chocolate everywhere you look this holiday season, I thought I would give you (and I) a reason to indulge.
One caveat: it has to be dark chocolate (milk and white don’t have the health benefits).
Chocolate is made from plants, so it has some of the benefits of dark vegetables. Note to self: replace salad consumption with dark chocolate.
Like, for instance, chocolate contains antioxidants. Antioxidants protect against free radicals, which destroy our cells and perhaps most importantly our collagen. In fact, dark chocolate is nearly 8 times higher in antioxidants than strawberries. Note to self: replace fruit with dark chocolate.
A small piece of dark chocolate a day ("small piece" that’s the part I have difficulty with) is said to reduce blood pressure. It's also been shown to reduce bad cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
But wait there’s more. Chocolate also contains serotonin, an anti-depressant. It increases endorphin production, which makes us happy. Plus it contains caffeine, which is a stimulant.
Did you hear that, Amy Winehouse? Why are you messing around with that other stuff? Chocolate does it all and unlike those other drugs, it won’t make you look like you applied your makeup with your feet.
The catch, there’s always a catch, chocolate is high in calories and fat (although only 1/3 of the fat in chocolate is of the unhealthy variety). So, if you eat 200 calories worth of chocolate a day, you’ll have to lose those calories somewhere else in your diet. (I’ll probably cut out vegetables.)
One last thing, don’t drink milk with your chocolate. It negates the health benefits.
So, when your family looks at you funny, this holiday, for shoving handfuls of chocolate into your mouth, tell them you’re only doing it for the health benefits.
I hope everyone has a very happy, healthy, fun holiday!