If your love runs deep, rich and delectable, let your Valentine know it with a gift of dark chocolate. Unlike its milky cousin, dark chocolate generally contains higher amounts of cacao, which is rich in the kinds of substances that lets your Valentine know your relationship is a healthy one:
Heart disease and blood pressure. Studies show that eating chocolate may help lower blood pressure, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Diabetes. The flavonols in dark chocolate may increase insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of diabetes.
Cholesterol. Eating dark chocolate has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels in older adults.
Memory. In tests, dark chocolate has been shown to improve mental performance, including memory, in adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Mood. That cliché of someone eating chocolates after a breakup? There might be a natural rationale for that. Some studies have shown that chocolate can improve symptoms of depression and elevate feelings of calmness and contentedness, thanks to flavonols and methylxanthines, which are also natural substances in chocolate.
Want more tips on how to enjoy life’s finer things while staying healthy? Make an appointment with your primary care doctor at www.hoag.org.