Food For Thought: Eating for the Love of Chocolate

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Happy Valentine’s Day! This day means many things to different people but for most of us, I bet it is the one day we can indulge in chocolate and not feel guilty.

But first why is it that so many people consider themselves chocoholics? The neurotransmitters in our brains act like messengers zipping around the brain telling the body what to do. They influence our moods, affect our energy levels and sleep patterns and can even influence how we think. When we eat chocolate it activates certain brain chemicals which can trigger emotions like euphoria. This is why some people just LOVE chocolate, for the emotional spark.

There’s been much in the news about the health a benefit of chocolate. But there is definitely a HUGE difference between the commercial chocolate that you see on the shelves while you’re waiting in the check out line at the grocery store and the Healthy organic dark chocolates available to us. Organic dark chocolate has antioxidant properties, which can actually help to protect the body from cellular degeneration. The polyphenols found in dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure. The flavanoids prevent the excessive clumping of blood platelets that can cause blood clots and protects the lining of our arteries. So over all it’s beneficial to heart health. So appropriate for Valentines Day don’t you think?

Remember that the higher the cocoa content the healthier it is. Rule of thumb, the more bitter the chocolate the healthier it is. When choosing dark chocolate, look for 70% cocoa content or higher. Enter my new favorite chocolate. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight at 72% Cacao. These tasty treats are only 55 calories a square. This is a great “go to” sweet treat that is virtually guilt free. And who could resist after reading this description on their website: “The luxuriously deep and velvety chocolate delivers a moment of unrivaled chocolate intensity.”

Have a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day!

About Karen Roth

Hi. My name is Karen Roth, and I’m a Holistic Nutritionist. Okay, I know what you’re thinking… quick, hide the food; the snack police is here! No need to panic. I describe myself as a “practical” nutritionist, one who doesn’t go to extremes one way or the other and understands that life is challenging enough without having to torture yourself by cutting out many of the things you enjoy. Most of us have limited time to shop for food and to cook healthier meals. And a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to what and how we all eat. Trust me, I get it.

In my early years out of college when I was bartending, my eating and drinking habits were anything but healthy. But, then you grow up and start thinking about the bigger picture and listening more to what your body is telling you. My pre-nutritionist days were on the corporate treadmill where stress and snacking at the desk was part of my daily routine. Never enough hours in the day and proper eating was always at the bottom of my list.

It wasn’t until I broke my jaw in a freak accident that my food life really changed. When you’re wired shut for two months and denied the food you need for your very existence, you begin to look at the world a little differently. When I healed myself, primarily by creating my own foods I could sip through a straw, I decided to pursue something that was always of interest to me… nutrition. Pulling the plug on the corporate treadmill, I went back to school for three years to get my Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. I then opened a practice in Valencia, California, and I’m pleased to say that over the years I have helped so many people improve the quality of their lives by helping them make simple changes in their diets and lifestyle.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or tasteless, and it is my intention to bring you practical tips each week on how to fit in nutrition one bite at a time. In addition to being practical, I’m also positive so you don’t have to worry that I am going to be Debby Downer and tell you that everything you put in your mouth is going to kill you. Instead, I will offer you easy to implement, simple strategies to help you improve your health. I’ll be introducing new foods (that taste good – because I don’t eat anything that tastes like sawdust or is unappetizing) and new habits that are realistic. I hope you’ll join me as a regular reader and together we’ll build the healthier you with FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

(Karen Roth, MS, NC is a graduate of Hawthorn University’s Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition training program. She helps her clients to take control of their health with foods choices that best support their specific health condition and specific metabolic type and believes that every ill health condition can benefit and possibly improve from a solid foundation of healthy foods choices. Visit her website at