Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Chocolate a Healthy Indulgence

Don't feel so guilty next time you dig deep into the M&M bowl. Chocolate isn't all bad for you.

Heart helper
Chocolate martini, anyone? A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate dark chocolate had less of a protein that indicates inflammation, which can lead to a heart attack. Plus, alcohol boosts HDL (good) cholesterol.

Mood booster
There’s a good reason we crave chocolate when we’re down. Its tryptophan ups mood-lifting serotonin in the brain, says Leah Sherman, a naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon. One study found that even the taste, texture, and smell make us happy.

Skin soother
For a spa treat, try this bath from Lauren Cox’s Eco Beauty: Combine 2 cups chocolate milk, 2 tablespoons mild liquid soap, and 1 tablespoon honey; pour mixture into the bathtub. The chocolate milk’s lactic acid and antioxidants smooth and soften your skin.

Cravings buster
University of Copenhagen researchers found that subjects felt fuller and craved fewer sweet, salty, and fatty foods when they snacked on chocolate (yes!). Be sure to choose dark chocolate: Its low glycemic index steadies blood sugar levels, cutting cravings.

Source: Health Magazine

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