Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chocolate Is Good For You

Chocolate is one of my favorite foods. Sarah's Candies, a gorgeous pastry and candy shop in Chicago compiled some information on chocolate that I think everyone should know. It also made me feel better about eating it as much as I do.

Chocolate stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the 'runner's high.'...Chocolate also contains a neurotransmitter serotonin that acts as an anti-depressant.

Chocolate's scientific name, theobroma cacao (\The`o*bro"ma\ \Ca*ca"o\)
A literal translation is 'Food of The Gods'.

Its feel good chemicals have long been associated with feelings of love, safety, and comfort.

Babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and 'positively reactive'- a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter. And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained.

Research reported cocoa powder and chocolate contain a relatively high amount of phenolic compounds, which possess antioxidant properties that may be beneficial in reducing the risk for coronary heart disease.

The finer varieties [of chocolate] provide a range of valuable nutrients....vitamin E, iron, and magnesium... and can help lift your mood.

It is the hidden substances [of chocolate] that are being craved as they are an antidepressant and help create a state of euphoria. This is why some people crave chocolate when they are feeling down. Chocolate also contains substances which act as stimulants thus giving energy.

Research indicates a possible antioxidant benefit in chocolate, similar to that found in red wine.

Chocolate contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as well as potassium, sodium, iron, and fluorine. Now, researchers say those creamy chocolate confections may actually help us live longer, too. Harvard researchers tracked nearly 8,000 males... Those men who enjoyed chocolate and candy lived almost a year longer than those who did not.

Antioxidants, flavonoids and the subgroup called catechins, are found in dark chocolate four times the amount that it is found in green tea.

So, if you are in Chicago, go see Sarah at her shop and tell her I sent you. And have a cupcake for me.

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