So it’s Valentine’s Day!

Whether you are in a relationship or you are all by your lonesome, chocolates have been the go to for a couple centuries now (maybe even longer) for all the feel good reasons that taste has on the human palate. We have been able, for the most part, to experience the sensation of biting into that dark or milk chocolate given to you from that special someone.

Well, if you ever needed to connect the feeling that chocolate can bring to the logical side of your brain here is a few tidbits that help you “justify” or ease your guilt of eating so much of the delicious gift from God or your significant other, whoever you want to give the credit.

What the Science Says

A recent study published in the journal Heart (link for it is here) has found that regular consumption of chocolate was able to be associated with a reduction in heart disease risk. Other studies have found that chocolate has a beneficial impact on cholesterol, blood pressure, and cognitive function.

Now, beyond the yummy-ness that registers in your brain as you taste the flavor, and the feelings of joy associated with the act of chewing the deliciousness – It actually may be the case, with the right types of chocolate (it is always about the ingredients isn’t it?) can be a plus for you instead of the minus people have placed upon it.

For instance, some have even suggested (me in particular) that regular eaters of chocolate weigh less than those who don’t consume it on the regular. Plus, you probably already know from experience that chocolate can have a positive impact on your mood. It also provides a decent amount of iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Chocolate regularly makes lists of top superfoods that the gurus put out to everyone, specifically the dark chocolate, of foods rich in compounds linked to better health. So let’s get into the details here.

The Health Benefits of Chocolate ~ Which Chocolate Should You Choose

Polyphenols and Flavonoids, the healthy compounds that are found in chocolate, are found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate. (That is why it makes all the superfood lists.) You’ve probably seen percentages gracing the labels of dark chocolate varieties, detailing that they contain 70, or higher percent cacao. The higher that number, the more it contains those healthy compounds.

Its the added sugar and butterfat, on the other hand, aren’t so great for one’s health. Milk chocolate specifically consists of the added levels of both. So, if you have a choice between the two main types, skip the super-sweet low cacao options and try treating yourself to some really well-made dark chocolate.

Combine your chocolate fix with a serving of veggies -that you wouldn’t normally goes well with chocolate – like zucchini, pumpkin or even beans. Along with the customary fruit or nuts.

Health Benefits of Chocolate ~ How to Healthy Up Your Hot Cocoa

Ok, so if you want to get some extra “brownie” points this hearts-season another satisfying and healthy way to get your gal or guy their chocolate fix at this time of year is homemade cocoa. I go heavy on the pure cocoa and light on the sugar, often using stevia instead. It’s thoroughly divine!

It’s also very grown-up and handy too (that is where the points can come into view… as well as getting them chocolate). This recipe’s all about keeping things simple, and you can make a great cup of cocoa with only the first three ingredients. Plus, if you’re short on time or don’t feel like dirtying an extra pan, you can make it by the cup in the microwave. For more people, multiply the ingredients and cook over low heat on the stove.

Here’s How to Make It

  • 1 cup milk of choice (you can use any percent regular milk, soy, rice, or almond milk you like)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened pure cocoa or cacao powder*
  • Sugar or stevia to taste (start with a teaspoon of sugar or a 1/16 tsp stevia  and add more if you like it sweeter)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
  • Dash of sea salt (optional)

On the Stove top –

Combine all ingredients and stir to dissolve while heating.

In the Microwave –

Add a smidge of cold milk to the cocoa(powder) and stir till cocoa dissolves, then add rest of milk and stir. Cook on high about 1 minute till hot. Add sweetener and other ingredients to preferred taste.

Overall TakeAway

Just see the hearts and love fly your way when you give the gift of chocolate! You can also make your own maximize the health benefits of chocolate in your life!

So if you ever needed an excuse to get yourself some of that dark chocolate sweetness, look no further! You have all the ‘FUEL’ you need… now we can’t help that you forgot to get some until the day of, but every lil bit counts don’t it?