Monday, February 1, 2010


I love chocolate. Really, anything that contains chocolate. No - I love anything that contains good chocolate.

Ask my family, my friends, or yes, even my mother.She can tell you that as a child, I could inhale half a bag of Oreos. Or that I loved to eat Cocoa Krispies cereal. And that I mixed so much chocolate syrup into my vanilla ice cream, it became a muddy mess (my dad loved vanilla so unfortunately for me, that's what we always ate).

As I grew older, my chocolate tastes became more refined (and I clearly learned about the cons of sugar and the pros of moderation). So, although I do not indulge with the abandon of a 9-year-old girl, I definitely will not deny myself the pleasure of really, good chocolate. I do live by my own 80/20 rule - and I have plenty of room in that 20% for something dark, rich and wonderful..

And what's the greatest thing for people like me? The right kind of pure chocolate can actually be a healthy indulgence. Here are some facts about chocolate you can read while savoring a small, luscious piece this Valentine's Day.

Facts about chocolate

Chocolate contains flavonoids which come from cocoa bean extracts. Flavonoids act as antioxidants; the same type of antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, red wine and tea. Studies show these help protect your body from disease, and may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Pure dark chocolate is best

The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains. Look for dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Be picky. Only choose pure dark chocolate, not the candy-type chocolates that are full of unhealthy fats and sugar (milk chocolates, white chocolates, nougat, caramel fillings, etc.). Bulk food aisles at specialty supermarkets usually have a good range of choices.

A little goes a long way

Face it, it’s still chocolate and although it does have some healthy attributes, it’s not calorie- or fat-free. If you choose to eat it for health benefits, think small portions. Just two ounces of pure, high-quality dark chocolate can provide antioxidant benefits.

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