No one has to convince me to indulge in dark chocolate, but knowing its high antioxidant content makes the process that much more enjoyable.  To ensure you are getting the most nutritional value from your chocolate of choice, choose high quality varieties with at least 70% or more cocoa content.   If you need a good reason to indulge, consider the following health benefits gifted by a square of dark chocolate:

Stress Reduction: Research shows that simply smelling chocolate can increase theta waves and induce the relaxation response.

Lower cholesterol: Dark chocolate is a friendly mono-unsaturated fat. It also contains a unique saturated fat, stearic acid that may help to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, when consumed in moderation.

Reduce inflammation: The high flavanoid content can help ease inflammation and inhibit the formation of blood clots.

Boost your mood: Chocolate encourages phenylethylamine, a naturally occurring substance known to help elevate mood.

Enliven your libido: Chocolate also contains arginine, a substance that increases blood flow to the sexual organs, contributing to a healthy libido.

If you are not as experienced with dark chocolate, the process of discovery is a delightful experience in and of itself.  My current favorite is Voghes Haut Chocolat~  I love the way they weave different spices from around the world.

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