Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – such a cruel twist of fate! Just over one month of staying on track with my New Year’s resolutions I have the ultimate test – a holiday that seems to revolve around chocolate!
But rather than fight it, I say embrace it!
Research has shown that dark chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate, or rather the cocoa in dark chocolate, has been found to boost serotonin levels in the brain, improving your mood. Dark chocolate also has powerful antioxidant effects. Antioxidants, compounds found in various foods, have been found to raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) and protect cells from damage caused by free-radicals that contribute to heart disease, cancer and aging. And rich in monounsaturated fat, the same fat found in olive oil, dark chocolate has been found to improve heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind). It has even been reported that chocolate is a helpful in those dieting in that it helps decrease appetite!
While the health benefits of chocolate may be enough for you to exclaim, “Bring on the chocolate!” it is important to remember that the health benefits of chocolate are related to the cocoa content of the chocolate. That means that milk chocolate and white chocolate do not have the same health benefits. But I think I can make the sacrifice.
Of course, I will still be mindful of the calories and fat (keeping with my first New Year’s resolution of eating a more nutritionally sound diet). But health benefits have been reported with as little as 6 grams (about the equivalent of 1 ½ Hershey’s Kisses) of dark chocolate a day.
A typical piece of pure dark chocolate from Godvia has about 75 calories and 1 ½ grams of fat. I figure three to four pieces as a snack after dinner, when my sweet tooth is more than I can stand, will fit nicely in my New Year’s resolution list: between my first and my now third: Go to the gym four days a week.
Mary D. Brown, MS, RD, LDN
Nutrition Specialists, LLC & Budding Baby
Don’t forget to register for our latest giveaway – a month of workouts with Baby Boot Camp. This giveaway will end on Febuary 4th at 11:00pm. Click Here to take survey.
The best chocolate in Charlotte is Barking Dog Chocolates…and some of the proceeds go to benefit local charities. Plus, they’re local!! http://www.barkingdogchocolates.org