Chocolate for Valentine's Day: Eating Healthy
Valentine’s Day is a holiday for chocolate, but if you’re trying to eat healthy consider these differences:
White Chocolate – isn’t truly chocolate. Because it doesn’t include any non-alcoholic chocolate liqueur which it must have to qualify as a true chocolate, it offers no chocolate-related health benefits. In fact, it’s made of cocoa butter, milk, sugar and flavoring. It’s my favorite kind of chocolate, but it’s something I should probably avoid.
Milk Chocolate – this is real chocolate but it’s filled with lots of sugar, milk and flavorings that add lots of calories and not much else. It has a low 20-50% cocoa level which is important in that it doesn’t really give you any antioxidant benefit.
Dark Chocolate – this is worth eating for lots of reasons. Because the cocoa level is high, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and may reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), inflammation and blood pressure. And it’s a mood elevator because it increases dopamine. Different levels of cocoa mean different concentrations of antioxidants. Semi-sweet chocolate has a 50-69% cocoa content, and bitter chocolate has 70% or more. BTW, 70% is about as high as you probably want to go, as after that the taste may become unpalatable.
Go all the way and have a glass of red wine with your chocolate for the true Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac (and health) benefit. Happy Valentine’s Day!