The Gift of Chocolate: Romantic and Healthful

In the Name of Love and Health

Dark Chocolate and Antioxidants

If your significant other suffers from a chronic pain condition, the traditional gift of chocolate is romantic and healthful. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, is deemed a superfood with many health benefits. Dark chocolate contains several minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. Dark chocolate is derived from the cacao bean, which contains flavonoids – antioxidants that impart many health benefits.  Milk chocolate does not contain much cacao; instead, it gets its flavor from sugar, cocoa butter, and milk.  So while a Reese’s Peanut Butter Heart may be delicious, it will not provide the same nutrients as a quality piece of dark chocolate. The more bitter, the better.

The antioxidants found in cacao are said to prevent oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals.  Excessive free radicals can damage tissues and cells within the body, and oxidative stress hastens the aging process.

Inflammation Fighter

Inflammation results throughout the body in reaction to trauma, germs, or excessive stress. Chronic inflammation can be blamed for a whole host of diseases, including those of the autoimmune variety.  The cacao within dark chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties.  A couple of studies have shown that people who regularly eat dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao (70% and 84%) have reduced their inflammatory biomarkers. More studies are needed, but in the meantime, why not enjoy that chocolate bar in the name of love and health?

Endorphins

Here is where chocolate can have a more immediate benefit to chronic pain patients.  Dark chocolate is thought to heighten the production of endorphins, which are sometimes described as nature’s opiates.  Endorphins aid in pain relief and can make for a better mood.  Dark chocolate is also the only known dietary source of anandamide, which is a natural cannabinoid and can also aid in pain relief.

Other Benefits

Dark chocolate is believed to have heart benefits and may reduce the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising HDL (the good cholesterol).  This function reduces the risk of arterial plaque buildup. Daily consumption of dark chocolate has also been linked to a reduced risk of stroke.

There is some research that daily chocolate helps to improve blood flow to the brain.  It has been studied for its preventative effect on dementia and Alzheimers.

Who knew a heart-shaped box of delicious treats could do all that?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. If you or anyone you love suffers from chronic pain resulting from a car accident caused by a negligent party, call my office for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400, or if phoning long-distance: (800) 404-5400. 

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I have worked within the Sacramento community for more than three decades as an injury lawyer. Please review the links below, where you can find what my clients say about my work and the results I have achieved for them:

Photo Attribution: pixabay user Poetryboy74

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