Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and with the coming of this hallmark holiday also comes the consumption of candy. There is no reason to restrict yourself from indulging a little bit, but there is certainly a way to make this holiday not only special, but healthy as well.
Most individuals have a negative outlook on chocolate in terms of health, and much of the time this outlook is valid. The candy heavily marketed by companies such as Hershey is nothing short of unhealthy. Most chocolates found in grocery stores like Reeses or Butterfinger contain harmful additives and excess sugar, often in the form of high fructose corn syrup. The good news is that these candies are easily replaceable with something just as delicious — without the harmful ingredients. In order to find healthy chocolate, you’ll need to switch to a food store where organic chocolate is available.
In addition to the ingredients, cocoa content plays a major role in the healthiness of chocolate products. The higher the cocoa content, the healthier the chocolate is. Chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70 percent is the right kind of chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate will not be found with this cocoa content, so dark chocolate is preferred to attain the most benefits.
Chocolate is full of nutrients such as vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E. In addition to these vitamins, the cocoa in chocolate contains flavanols, a type of flavanoid. Flavanoids act as antioxidants, and thus possess the health benefits of antioxidants such as promoting graceful aging, improving memory, and, and helping with weight loss. Chocolate even inhibits cell division and reduces inflammation, leading to reduced cancer growth and spread.
While choosing healthy chocolate is the best option, don’t feel bad about consuming in some not-so-healthy treats. If you are normally a healthy eater, then there should be no guilt in treating yourself once in a while. As with many holidays, chocolates are going to be flowing in light of Valentine’s Day. If you happen to secure some delicious organic chocolate, don’t be afraid to indulge in this health-promoting Valentine’s treat!