With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we’re going to touch on a food that receives a lot of attention this time of year… chocolate. Dark chocolate is often promoted as super food thanks to the high amounts of antioxidants it contains. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants helps our bodies offset the negative impacts of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen cells that circulate in our bodies. These unstable cells attach themselves to healthy cells. The damaging effects of free radicals are believed to lead to a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. A diet consisting of variety of antioxidants helps our bodies stabilize free radicals and offset their potentially harmful effects.
The antioxidant that receives so much positive attention in dark chocolate is a plant based antioxidant known as flavonoid. Several studies have shown that an increased intake of dark chocolate – 1-2 ounces twice per week have been shown to decrease heart disease and lower blood pressure. Eating dark chocolate has also been shown to increase your HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. Cocoa butter that is naturally present in dark chocolate contains oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat that is believed to help promote heart health.
Even if you aren’t a dark chocolate fan there are other options. Flavonoids are also present in high amounts in other fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach and herbal teas. But if you do love dark chocolate, this a perfect reason to treat yourself to one of the season’s loveliest indulgences – chocolate dipped strawberries.
By Denise Boyd Pilates Instructor and Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Denise works at Pilates in Guelph Monday nights and Wednesday nights. Book a private session with her with our February Private Session Promotion 3 Privates for $150 + hst