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Nature’s basket > Chocolate
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Sin is in! Who can resist a luscious slab of rich, creamy and dreamy chocolate? Meant to be savoured slowly like a loving embrace, the ubiquitous chocolate is the food of romance, and the ultimate feel-good food. But, overindulgence can add to weight gain. The sugar and calories in chocolate are a good reason for people with diabetes to avoid it. But, recent research findings are just too good to be true. This all time favourite sinful sweet is now officially cleared to provide many health benefits. Chocolate is definitely worth indulging in if you can moderate your cravings.

Chocolate contains several valuable nutrients. The flavonoids content in chocolate helps protect the body from aging caused by free radicals. Nitric oxide produced in the body from flavonoids can also help widen blood vessels and keep their linings smooth. This can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is the richest source of flavonoids, beating other healthy foods such as apples and black tea.

According to Healthbeat, the journal of the Harvard Medical School, most heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots that form on cholesterol-laden plaques in vital arteries. These clots are triggered by platelets. Researchers in Switzerland and the U.S. have found that dark chocolate reduces platelet activation.

Chocolate is rich in amino acids such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine. These nitrogen-rich compounds are the building blocks of all the body’s proteins. Some of these amino acids are precursors of adrenaline, a “stress hormone,” and dopamine, a neurotransmitter that relays signals between nerve cells in the brain. According to current scientific theory, dopamine induces pleasurable feelings. So now you know. Chocolate really can help improve your mood.

Here are some tips to get the most out of every rich, dark bite:

  1. Eat chocolate slowly, taking time to savour and appreciate its rich flavour. Eating slowly will help you enjoy more while eating less.

  2. Choose dark chocolate, which has higher cocoa content for taste and health benefits.

  3. Avoid chocolates with crème or nougat fillings. While nuts and dry fruits are good, the creamy fillings add to the sugar and fat, which is a no-no for the health conscious.

  4. Washing chocolate down with a cup of milk may appeal to some, but combining chocolate with milk can reduce the body’s ability to absorb the flavonoids and other nutrients.
While chocolate may indeed have a role in maintaining heart health, we must take care to opt for the healthiest type of chocolate. Dark chocolate appears beneficial, but milk chocolate, white chocolate, and other varieties do not. We also need to watch out for an overdose of calories. Smart chocolate lovers will do well to choose dark chocolate, taking care to select low sugar options. Eating small nibbles rather than huge chunks will provide healthy pleasure while keeping the weight in check.

Chocolate crème facial mask for dry skin

1. ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2. ½ teaspoon sweet almond oil or olive oil

3. 1 teaspoon oatmeal powder

4. 1 teaspoon honey

Combine ingredients in mixer to get smooth, creamy paste. Apply evenly to face, leaving area around eyes and lips. After 25 minutes, wash off with warm water.


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