This weekend you should just be enjoying your treats. Whether you are celebrating the end of Lent and a traditional Easter feast, or you are helping the kids with all the loot from the treasure hunt it's all good. Just in case you are feeling the slightest bit guilty though, here are some tidbits to help you over the hump... you know, the one right under the bunny's ears you just nibbled? :)
Chocolate has all kinds of great qualities.
- It has been proven to improve people's moods - eating chocolate releases calming endorphins which helps you deal with stress. The high magnesium content also improves your mood.
- Cacao, the natural bean from which chocolate is made, contains flavonoids which are an antioxidant. That means they are good for your heart, and your immune system. Dark chocolate has more flavonoids than an apple, so an ounce or two will do you good.
- Chocolate can help lower blood pressure. Polyphenols in chocolate help increase blood flow in your system. (Note that milk chocolate does not offer the same absorption rate unfortunately).
- Daily consumption of dark chocolate may lower cholesterol (this has not been extensively tested, but results so far are positive).
- It can help your skin - they have proven that nothing in chocolate causes blemishes, and scientists in Australia believe that compounds in dark chocolate contain UV filters which help protect you against sun exposure
Chocolate also has a rich history, if you'll pardon the pun. It was so precious to the ancient civilizations of the Olmecs and the Aztecs that is was considered like currency. They also thought it had great powers, making you wise and sexy ! This could be why they consumed it regularly, even without any added sugar (have you ever tasted cocoa on its own? It's bitter stuff!) Cocoa is still traded as a commodity on world markets, so it does retain some of its precious nature.
Chocolate also has incredible trivia attached to it, having been an integral part of our culture for so long. Did you know...?
- Alfred Hitchcock used chocolate syrup for the blood in the infamous shower scene in Psycho? (remember, the movie was in black and white).
- Hershey's now produces 80 million Kisses every day.
- George Cadbury, who was a Quaker, produced his hot chocolate drink as an alternative to alcohol.
- One chocolate chip can give a person enough energy to walk 150 feet.
- Henri Nestle, a Swiss scientist, first became involved with chocolate because of his work with creating a formula for children in areas where refrigeration was a challenge. He created a powdered milk formula and condensed milk, which was added to some of the first milk chocolate produced.
So, do you feel better now? See all the great things you are supporting by nibbling a bit of chocolate? If it's dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa you get to claim the best benefits, but we won't argue over details this week. Just remember to share :)