Dark chocolate is one of my favorite things to indulge in. When I found out that it actually had health benefits, I said “More please!”. This Valentine’s Day, ignore your inner nagging about dieting and have a day to treat yourself with this wonderful dessert.
Some “Dark” History
Chocolate history in general goes right back to dark chocolate, which was the first chocolate ever made. It goes back at least 3,000 years. It began as a bitter drink from the tropical areas of Central and South America. It was used by the Mayans and Aztecs as a ceremonial and medicinal drink and was often drank by the elite.
Next the Spanish discovered the drink and added sugar or honey and served the drink hot (perhaps the first hot chocolate?). Chocolate was considered a luxury and only for the rich. During the 19th century, milk was added to chocolate and this version became more popular than the dark chocolate that had always been around.
In the late 20th century into the 21st century, dark chocolate has been making a comeback, especially with all the health benefits that were uncovered.
Yummy Health Benefits
Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called epicatechin that has proven health benefits. Dark chocolate has been shown to:
- Decrease High Blood Pressure
- Increase blood flow and prevent damage from strokes
- Inhibit cancer growth
- Lower cholesterol
- stimulate endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
- contain serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- contain theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
You can get all these benefits by eating just three squares a day! Also avoid eating with milk. Sure, it tastes great, but it has been shown to prevent these great antioxidants from being absorbed in your body when you eat it with milk.
Some Delicious Options For Valentine’s Day
Now that you’re craving some dark chocolate, what kind should you buy? Some of my favorite brands that have delicious options for dark chocolate are:
- Dove Promises in Dark Chocolate (the wrappers have uplifting sayings on them!) or Dark Chocolate covered Dove ice cream bars
- Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate squares with flavors such as toffee, espresso, and seat salt
- Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bars or chocolate kisses
- Godiva Dark Chocolate pearls with mint, a box of Dark Chocolate truffles, Dark Chocolate covered pretzels, and many more
- Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate truffles with flavors such as orange and coffee
You can find all these options at your local grocery store or Target. You can also look for dark chocolate cupcakes, cakes, muffins or even make your own with dark chocolate chips! Have some yourself and give some as a gift this Valentine’s Day!
Check out Dark-chocolate-life for more information.
To read more from Lauren, check out Lauren’s Thoughts.