Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Heart and Health

Valentine's Day should be renamed Chocolate Day.

Chocolate is one of the most romantic foods. Chemicals in chocolate affect levels of the body's mood-affecting chemicals, including serotonin, endorphins and phenylethylamine. This can bring a feeling of euphoria that enhances sensations of romance and love. Perhaps that's why chocolate has been linked to Valentine's Day?

O.K. so feelings of euphoria and love may be one reason to give your loved one chocolate today, but here's another. By giving chocolate, you're keeping your Valentine healthy because chocolate is good for his or her heart in both the physical and romantic sense.

According to several scientists, chocolate contains polyphenols -- chemical compounds renowned for their heart-helping properties. Polyphenols have been shown to prevent LDL cholesterol (the 'bad' cholesterol) from oxidizing into a form that damages arteries. Not only that, but chocolate has been shown to raise good cholesterol 10 percent, lowering the risk of heart complications by 20 percent.

Also, when you choose your chocolate, the darker the better when it comes to fighting cancer. Antioxidants are believed to fight cancer. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants. Not only does chocolate contain a large quantity of antioxidants, but chocolate also contains high-quality antioxidants.

So eating chocolate and natural cocoa will improve vascular health, blood pressure, blood flow, and skin health. According to studies by the USDA, just two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant power than 4 cups of green tea, one cup of blueberries or one and a half glasses of red wine.

Flavanols, the compounds in chocolate found in the cocoa bean-increase blood flow, provides a protective effect against inflammation and subsequent cardiovascular disease, helping to reduce blood pressure, and even make skin look more hydrated.

Whether enjoyed solid, melted or stirred in beverages, chocolate will remain a perennial favorite. Go out and indulge today.

1 comment:

Frank Price said...

chocolate in moderation is good for you and giving it to the one you love means you care about the health of that person. The key word is moderation.