Valentine’s Day – A day of celebrating life, love, and romance
In the 1300s, February became known as the month of “love and romance.” Back then, people believed that birds started their mating season on February 14. And so, a “green light” to celebrate life by exchanging cards, flowers, teddy bears, and chocolates was formed to become what we now know as Valentine’s Day.
Cupids, roses, and manufacturing chocolates in heart-shaped boxes became popular, and a multibillion-dollar industry was born. In fact, 58 million pounds of chocolate were bought during Valentine’s Day week last year!
And regardless of your gender or age, nine out of ten people love to eat chocolate!
Do Women Love Chocolate More than Men Do?
Surprisingly, chocolate affects women differently than men. This fact is the result of a study done by Anthony Auger from UW-Madison which shows that women have stronger cravings for chocolate. The given explanation is rooted in the female cyclical (rise & fall) hormones of estrogen and progesterone which trigger the cravings for chocolate. A second reason why women crave chocolate more than men is that chocolate is rich in magnesium. During menstruation, women need to increase their magnesium intake and chocolate seems to address this need.
So, if you think you eat chocolate only for pleasure, the answer is that there is more to it!
Why to Choose Dark Chocolate
If you choose to eat chocolate, try to grab dark chocolate – it’s a better choice and it’s healthier!
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, TAC, and procyanidins. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals (which cause oxidative damage to cells). Dark chocolate is also high in potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Dark chocolate may lower your blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart. It can help improve cognitive function and may also help to reduce your risk of a stroke.
Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.
Despite the encouraging/positive facts of why we should eat dark chocolate, MODERATION is the key to balance the negative side effects of over-consuming chocolate. Since dark chocolate contains sugar and fat as well, overeating it can lead to weight gain and blood sugar increases.
Small amounts of 75% dark chocolate will give you the benefits you want and at the same time will protect you from the negative ones. A square or two-three times a week will keep the balance.
Enjoy eating healthy!
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