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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chocolate Is GOOD For You

Happy Valentine's Day, Friend!

When you have a craving for a something special to eat, what is it?

The typical food treats (of cookies, cakes, candies, chips, etc.) that tempt others are not my weakness. When I crave something, all I want is chocolate... and to know that chocolate actually has health benefits allows me to consume small portions guilt-free!

Studies have shown that chocolate is rich in flavonoids, friendly compounds that act as antioxidants, preventing inflammation and cell damage. These health building flavonoids can also be found in fruits, vegetables, certain teas and red wine, too... yum!

How do they help? Flavonoids increase blood flow and good cholesterol, while lowering the likelihood of plaque formation in the blood stream, too. Who would think that eating chocolate could act like repair-persons in our cells, protecting us from damage and environmental toxins. What a GREAT design!

For sure, it is important to consume chocolate in moderation because it is saturated with calories and high in fat. For health benefits reach for the darkest chocolate possible... milk chocolate contains the smallest flavonoid content, compared to dark.

In addition to the health-enhancing benefits, chocolate is also a mood-booster! It replicates the feeling of being in love because of its PEA - phenylehtylamine - a compound that stimulates the nervous system and revs you up. Another chocolate chemical is NPY, which (like tryptophan) creates a blissful sense of wellbeing, releasing seratonin and endorphins for a feel-good glow. Finally, there's the caffeine content... which everyone knows offers a perky alertness.

I, personally have found my all-time favourite brand of dark chocolate... Ritter Sport, the Fine Extra Dark 71% Cocao Chocolate variety... which is not shown in this display of chocolate options. (And, no, I do not receive royalties for this little commercial.)

I've already have my little Valentine's Day chocolate "fix" today. Go on, give yourself permission to enjoy it modestly, knowing that you'll also be helping your your overall mood and health! Luscious food and SO good for us, too.

Warmly, Carolyn

Inner Fitness(R) Programs

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