Food of the Week: Dark Chocolate
Are you sick of healthy foods that don't taste good? Then try a little dark chocolate!
- It contains serotonin, which tends to be deficient in us;
- It stimulates endorphin release in your brain, which elevates the mood, kills pain and may boost the immune system;
- It may lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, which protects the heart (some research links chronic fatigue syndrome to cardiovascular irregularities);
- It contains antioxidants (in the form of flavinoids), which some experts recommend for these conditions.
This doesn't mean that we should all binge on chocolate regularly -- we do still have to worry about the fat and calories! However, research shows that we only need about 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day to get the benefits. The best way to add dark chocolate to your diet is to eat it in place of a less-healthy snack.
It also has to be dark chocolate, and the darker the better. Milk chocolate won't have the same impact on your body.
About.com Guide to Longevity Mark Stibich, Ph.D, has a great article on dark chocolate and how to get the most out of it: Health Benefits of Chocolate.
I don't eat dark chocolate on a regular basis, but I do generally keep some around for those days when I feel like I need a serotonin boost, or when I want something sweet. I figure it's better than a lot of other choices I could make. I do notice a difference when I eat it, too. I'm lucky -- I dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so it's an easy choice for me.
Do you eat dark chocolate for the health benefits? How do you compensate for the extra calories? Have you had to adjust to the taste? Leave your comments below!
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