Who doesn’t love chocolate? But how much did YOU eat by Valentine’s Day? According to Nielsen’s, we buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy during Valentine’s week alone, about $345 million worth. That’s just over 5 percent of total chocolate sales for the whole year.
Well, that’s only natural. As I say in my Truly Cultured book and nearly all of my talks, “Leave chocolate alone. It’s in its own food group.” No question about it, this dark, rich delicacy is one of our absolutely favorite cultured foods.
Just about everyone knows that even small amounts of chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but what about for us? Is there even such a thing as too much chocolate for humans?
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A Few Chocolate Facts..
Chocolate is Nutritious. More and more research studies are proving that chocolate, especially the darker varieties with 65-85% cacao content are actually healthy, full of those free radical-quenching antioxidants. That includes resveratrol, which is also plentiful in red grapes and red wines. (The reason we drink them, of course.)
But most people don’t binge on unsweetened baking chocolate or cacao nibs. It’s the added sugar and fat that makes chocolate rich, decadent and irresistible to us. So, depending upon the type of chocolate, your little indulgence can be beneficial to your body, but just be aware that the milk and white chocolate varieties have more of the offending sugar and fat than the darker chocolates.
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Chocolate is Strong medicine. We eat it as a treat, but for most of the rest of the world, chocolate is considered a medicinal compound. Remember Ex-Lax, the 100 year old chocolate laxative? Oh yeah. Wasn’t my favorite way to get it, but you get the picture here..
Chocolate double-edged Sword? Does Chocolate equal Guilt? Dark, milk or white, chocolate is like a weird, double-edge sword. On one hand, it’s the most seductively irresistible thing you can put in your mouth, but on the other, it’s top of the list of “guilt-producing” foods.
We’ve developed some very strange, warped attitudes about indulging in rich pleasures like chocolate. So, we have a choice of nurturing ourselves or beating ourselves up with it.
Chocolate is Stimulating. Chocolate contains many strong stimulating compounds like theobromine and caffeine that can promote well-being and alertness or trigger a migraine, depending upon the individual.
Chocolate enhances Mood. One of the reasons women find it irresistible is because chocolate compounds, like some opiates and amino acids, stimulate the feel-good neurochemicals in our system – dopamine and endorphins, serotonin, similar to ones secreted during early love and sex. Is that why you always see boxes of chocolates adorned with those adorable little cupids?