The sweet wonders of chocolate abound


Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

Chocolate truly is a girl’s best friend.

Heck, it’s pretty much anyone’s best friend.

But like any set of friends, there’s always that one who might not be your go-to for a fun night on the town, but always has your best interest at heart.

On the other hand, there’s also always that friend who is fun to indulge with, but isn’t necessarily a positive influence on you.

As Valentine’s Day is upon us, I’m craving a big box of chocolates, and my go-to first pieces usually are wrapped in delicious and silky milk chocolate.

But like that friend you probably should only hang around with every once in a while for your own sake, milk chocolate doesn’t give you the consistent benefits that dark chocolate provides.

In fact, like that friend who always watches out for you, dark chocolate can be good for your health.

Various studies show chocolate can improve cognitive function, reduce the chances of a stroke, reduce memory decline and lower levels of “bad” cholesterol.

Dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants like flavonoids, which help cardiovascular health as well as other areas of the body, from your eyes to your skin.

The more cocoa content, the better. One study of volunteers showed that after eating high-flavanol cocoa for five days, blood flow to the brain improved.
A neuroscientist even said chocolate can help you lose weight by triggering hormones in the brain that say, “I’m

full.” If you’re like me and have trouble shutting down the kitchen after dinner for the night, this can help reduce late-night snacking.

Now, before you get excited, this does not include the caramel, marshmallow-filled varieties. It’s also important to keep in mind anything that also includes sugar and fat isn’t all good (except to the taste buds).

Even so, as you break open that oversized heart full of chocolate treats, it’s nice knowing your Valentine’s day indulgence really isn’t an indulgence after all.

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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