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Since I have a big birthday coming up, people have been asking me what I want. Do I want flowers? Perfume? Jewelry? No, I tell them to order chocolate from Serenata! I drool looking at their website! No kidding, chocolate is something I love and actually, my whole family does too. Next best thing is to have someone bake a chocolate dessert for my birthday. It doesn't have to be a cake, whatever, as long as it is chocolate. Hey, Jeffrey, did you read that? My son has become the baker in our house lately. Chocolate birthday cake, chocolate candy for a gift, what more could a woman want?
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After all those years of being warned about eating too much chocolate, we are now discovering the benefits of it. Just what we want to hear for a change! Something that is good for us and that we love too. According to the Harvard Men's Health Watch, the richest source of flavonoids is dark chocolate, surpassing cherries and apples. Not only that, but there are benefits such as:
- Antioxidant activity - Reduces LDL oxidation while actually increasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
- Endothelial function - "The endothelium, the thin inner layer of arteries, is responsible for producing nitric oxide, a chemical that widens blood vessels and keeps their linings smooth. European studies have shown that dark chocolate improves endothelial function in healthy people, that flavonoid-rich cocoa can reverse the endothelial dysfunction produced by smoking, and that dark chocolate may improve coronary artery function in heart transplant patients."
- Blood pressure - Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, though the effects wear off quickly.
- Blood clotting - It has been found that dark chocolate reduces platelet activation, a step in blood clot formation.
So don't write off chocolate as something that is not good for you anymore. Eaten with moderation it bestows many health benefits, as well as the psychological benefits. How many times have you been depressed and the only thing that relieves you of the blues is a box of chocolates? I know it works for me! What about you? Do you find it helps you through a depressed time? Or not?
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Chocolate has a long history of being considered a drug, as as well as a food. In even earlier times it was used as a form of payment instead of money. Wanting to give someone special a box of chocolates, a chocolate cake, a mug of hot cocoa or even a bar of chocolate is a considered a significant gift that has special meaning. What is your favorite form of chocolate to receive as a gift?
Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole