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Some of you know that I am a dark chocolate LOVER soooooo...today I decided to post a lot about chocolate, almost all you need to know to WANT to eat chocolate and love every bite of it, like I do.

E N J O Y...

The cocoa bean contains up to 2.2 percent phenylethylamine, the “love drug,” and is one reason chocolate is thought to be an aphrodisiac. It’s believed to work by making the brain release b-endorphins, an opioid peptide which is the driving force behind chocolate’s pleasurable effect. Or the pain-relieving, mood-enhancing, joy-inducing, effects, if you will! There area also a number of neurotransmitters and other compounds–like theobromine, tryptophan, and anandamide that enhance one’s mood, as well as calm us down and boost creativity. Then there’s the high level of potassium and magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant, as well the “good” fats that can enhance brain function, help prevent cardiovascular disease, suppres appetite, stimulate metabolism, and boost immunity. All combined, thee ingredients are what create the well-known chocolate effect.

We are not speaking of the typical commercial candy bar here–highly processed with heat as well as large amounts od refined sugar, processed dairy, chemicals, waxes, an such. We’re speaking of raw, organic, unprocessed chocolate (and sustainable, please!) made from the cocoa bean. The closer the chocolate is to its original state, the better it is for you. With the news of dark chocolate’s health benefits,

Now most of us can relate to “the dark master’s” pleasure quotient, so let’s look at the healing part here–chocolate as medicine that is! From enhancing one’s mood to protecting the heart to getting an ample amount of antioxidants to neutralize free-radical damage to improving glucose metabolism (diabetic control), and so much more–a daily bit of high quality raw or dark chocolate has now been proven to have tremendous health benefits. The cocoa bean is well known for its high level of antioxidants, specifically resveratrol (part of the family called polyphenols). Resveratrol can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect your brain and nervous system and has been found to protect cells from free-radical damage, keep your heart healthy, lower blood pressure, inhibit the spread of cancer (especially prostrate cancer) and normalize our body’s anti-inflammatory response. There’s also evidence that resveratrol can slow down the signs of aging and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

So how much chocolate should we eat for its healthful benefits? Here’s a perfect example of “less is more.” Researchers recommend eating a precise amount of chocolate –6.7 grams a day–for the best health benefits, especially its protective effect against inflammation and cardiovascular disease. This amounts to a small square of chocolate per day. I don’t know about you, my friends, but I may need to spring for extra square every now and then. But of course, this is an excellent lesson in “all things in moderation,” especially when it’s the most delicious, nutritious, organic raw chocolate possible.

And... you can involve all the senses for the incredible pleasure! Smell the chocolate’s aroma before putting in your mouth, then let it slowly melt in your mouth, chewing as needed, tasting the exquisite flavor across the broad expanse of your tongue and its 10,000 taste buds before letting it float down your throat into your tummy where your GI system will send the beneficial parts of the chocolate to your mind-body physiology. Chocolate love at it’s best!

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