Apparently, when I am stressed I turn to dark chocolate. Today we finally found out that our sweet baby boy has pneumonia. Dealing with a baby that has pneumonia has been difficult and my body has REQUIRED dark chocolate. So yesterday when my husband and I were at Whole Foods on our date (that's both funny and sad) I noticed a dark chocolate quinoa bar. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that is considered a grain but is actually related to leafy green vegetables like spinach and swiss chard. I was intrigued and in need of a dark chocolate stress reliever. So I purchased the bar. In the car on the way home I opened it and shared it with my husband. I thought we would quickly gobble it down. All I can say is if you can get through the first bite then it's enjoyable. But, boy, that first bite was a shock and a letdown. For some strange reason we both took another bite and another, by the 3rd or 4th bite it was quite good. As you can see from the picture above it is a large bar and half of it was left over. So today we had a bit more. And all I can still say is if you can get through the first bite it becomes enjoyable.
To make myself feel better I researched the benefits of dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate and mood:
"Early research on chocolate, such as the study on "The effects of nutrients on mood" published in the May 1999 journal of Public Health Nutrition by researchers David Benton and Rachael T Donohoe, has demonstrated that eating chocolate helps to improve mood. Chocolate improves mood by increasing the release of endorphins and boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain; this mood boost may be part of the reason that people consume chocolate to ease depression, as recently postulated in an 2010 Arch Intern Med Article on Mood Food: Chocolate and Depressive Symptoms as a Cross-sectional Analysis by Rose N, Koperski S and Glomb B."
Dark chocolate and cardiovascular system:
"Flavonoids are a naturally occurring antioxidant that also are found in teas, red wine and some fruits and vegetables. The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been associated with a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. One recent study showed that 6 grams of dark chocolate a day, about one square, lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 2 points each.
Dark chocolate also may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by about 5 points. While not a huge affect, it's sending that "bad" cholesterol in the right direction. Also, flavonoids have a beneficial effect on how the lining of the blood vessels function." http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2008-mchi/4927.html
When adding dark chocolate to a diet for the health benefits try to:
Choose dark chocolate for the health benefits.
Select chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, or more.
Eat chocolate in small amounts, one ounce of chocolate.
Savor the chocolate as it is consumed.
Limit chocolate to 7 ounces per week.
I've got the savoring part down. Now I've just got to get the ONE SQUARE of dark chocolate down. That's HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!