Dark Chocolate

During a period of grief many people turn to familiar “comfort foods” as a way to help them cope. It is also common to overindulge in these foods over the holidays.   Chocolate has long been a popular favorite, but for the weight conscious among us it can also bring a tinge of guilt.  However, new information shows that not all chocolate is bad for you, in fact, a small indulgence of dark chocolate can have some positive effects.  It could quite possibly be the best medical news in ages: in addition to tasting good and stimulating endorphin production (which gives you a feeling of pleasure), studies now suggest that dark chocolate is actually good for you.  According to recent scientific reports, a small bar of dark chocolate (100 grams) everyday helps to keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well.  So, what is it about dark chocolate that makes it healthy? Well, chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables, including antioxidants.  In fact, dark chocolate contains nearly eight times the number of antioxidants found in strawberries.  These cell-protecting antioxidants help to counteract free radicals – destructive molecules implicated in heart disease and cholesterol.  As many of of have over eaten or indulged over the holidays, it is a struggle to get back into healthy eating habits.  One way to help us feel that we have still been able to splurge without compromising our healthy diet is to have a piece of dark chocolate.  Having a piece of chocolate at the end of a day reminds me that even though the day has been tough (especially having salad all day) life is good and sweet and I am blessed!  I savor the small square of dark chocolate and remember all the things that went so well today and how grateful I am to have made it to the evening and savor the sweetness!