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Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on February 12, 2017
Help Your Heart & yourself with Dark Chocolate this Valentine’s Day
Image: Pure organic dark chocolate. Image source: Santa Barbara Chocolate
Let's show your loved one how much you care by going for dark chocolate this Valentine's day. The day of love is the perfect way to shower your beloved with care and adoration. And what's the better way to care than making sure their heart stays healthy for you to enjoy the romance of many Valentines’ days together to come. Let this be the year to skip the caramels and extra sugary stuff and opt for healthier pure and premium dark chocolate. Here is how you’re going to help yourself and the love of your life’s heart by going for dark chocolate.
The magic ingredient in dark chocolate
Organic dark chocolates are rich in a group of antioxidant called flavonol. It’s a magic ingredient in dark chocolate because of many health benefits associated with it, especially when it comes to the heart’s health. Flavonol  is a natural chemical found in fruits, tea and cocoa and is believed to stimulate the production of nitric oxide; which is a highly important signaling module. When the flavonol is produced in the arteries, it causes them to open up, which brings the blood pressure down and reduces blood clotting. Dark chocolate also has a good amount of resveratrol, an antioxidant that can prevent the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. These antioxidants are present in milk chocolate but to a lesser degree because of the lower cocoa solids as compared to dark chocolate. So if you want the maximum chocolate health benefit, opt for dark chocolate or pure dark chocolate.
Fewer calories count yet more energy for guilt-free pleasure
Not only does dark chocolate have fewer calories as compared to milk and white chocolate, it also helps you exercise longer. According to the recent study  having a small snack size of dark chocolate (even if it's just a half square) right before the workout helps you fight fatigue and perform better and longer. Adding to the reasons for falling in love with the dark chocolate is also the fact that cacao can help you lose weight. That is because it contains dietary oleoylethanolamide , or OEA. OEA is a chemical that sends signals to your brain that you are full, which as a result helps to curb your appetite. Hence, frequent consumption of dark chocolate is linked to lower body mass index (BMI) 
So if you’re planning a fun activity like dancing or even ice skating for your date on this Valentine’s Day, then it will most probably be a wonderful idea to share a delicious dark chocolate with your date to reap the performance enhancing and energy boosting benefits.
It’s especially good for the women you love
A couple of years ago, a research  has been carried out in which it was found that regular intake of even just 100 grams (3.5 oz) of dark chocolate is said to help the prevention of stroke - especially in women. In this research, it was concluded that women with the highest dark chocolate consumption rates have 20 percent fewer chances to suffer a stroke. This is due to the reason that the cocoa in dark chocolate contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants in the body. It also helps to keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing which actually is one of the factors that contribute to the strokes.
It’s equally good for men as well
Not just women, men too can reap the fantastic benefits dark chocolate has to offer. From ancient folklore to modern day science, dark chocolate is considered one of the top most aphrodisiac foods. That’s because cocoa beans contain natural chemical call phenyl ethylamine, it’s a "feel-good" chemical that triggers the release of opiate-like endorphins in the brain. Endorphins help in spiking the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked with pleasure. Hence, this is one of the reasons, besides great taste and smooth texture, why chocolate is loved by the world's greatest lovers.
So go ahead have a mocha smoothie, or bake a batch of dark chocolate chip cookies, or just simply dip strawberries in dark chocolate sauce to set the mood for romance this Valentine’s day. Dark chocolate can be your ‘secret weapon’ to help you feel energized, desirable and set you or your loved one in the right mood.
Dark chocolate makes you look good
Want to look young, radiant and in love this Valentine’s Day? Then indulge in dark chocolate. To stay fit and smart, you don’t have to opt for salads forever. Dark chocolate helps you combat the number one enemy of beauty: stress. Cocoa in dark chocolate helps in reducing the hormones responsible for stress . Dark chocolate is great for your skin as well because fewer stress hormones mean less collagen breakdown in the skin, which means fewer wrinkles on the face. Flavonol in dark chocolate (we do love flavonol in dark chocolate, don’t we?) fights free radical that decrease the appearance of sun spots and increases blood flow. It even helps in improving skin hydration and thickness. This ultimately results in a youthful looking skin for you.
Your immune system will love you
So far, we’ve established that dark chocolate is good for the heart, health and beautiful skin. It is full of antioxidant and lowers blood pressure. Here is one more reason to love dark chocolate. It’s also great for your immune system as well. According to new research , cocoa helps in modulating the body’s immune response in those with autoimmune diseases. Dark chocolate helps prevent sickness because it contains theobromine, which acts as a cough-reducing effect superior to codeine, an ingredient found in many cough syrups. And the best part is that the dark chocolate helps in soothing and moistens the throat.
So if you’re feeling a bit under the chilly weather or a nagging cough is threatening to ruin your Valentine's Day plans then here is one more great reason to take a bite of gourmet dark chocolate. Make yourself some delicious hot cocoa and share with your significant other. It will be like taking medicine under the guise of a tasty treat.
Perfect mood enhancer to kindle the best kind of romance
Dark chocolate helps your mood by tasting delicious but also releases hormones in your brain that improve your mood. Cacao, the unadulterated form of chocolate, is a precursor to neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. These natural chemicals send signals to your brain to regulate your mood, and act as an anti-depressant and bring on the feeling of pleasure.
So let’s pamper you and your loved one with this healthy comfort food to enhance mood and induce romance in your life.
In all, it's a scientific fact that consumption of high-quality dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and cacao in general is known to provide 40 distinct health benefits, it’s like saying ‘I love you’ in 40 different ways to yourself or to the love of your life!
If you go for Santa Barbara pure organic delicious dark chocolate, you’ll be adding more zing to your ‘I love you’. That's because our chocolates are made from pure Cacao grown deep in the exotic lands of the Amazon. These organic dark chocolates are GMO and gluten free with a smooth robust texture that surpasses when it comes to flavor and aroma. So go ahead and take a guilt-free indulgence in the heavenly world of dark chocolate and make your loved one's heart, both metaphorically and physically beat stronger for you.