Valentine’s Day is coming up, and you know what that means: chocolate.
Happily, this is one of those times when I can tell you, with a free conscience, to indulge yourself. That’s because chocolate isn’t just fabulous… it’s also good for you. In fact, it’s a bona fide health food.
Just how healthy is chocolate? Here’s what the research says:
- It can lower your bad cholesterol, raise your good cholesterol, and take off belly fat.
- It’s loaded with antioxidants that can reduce your risk of diabetes, improve your immune function, and protect your skin against oxidative damage.
- It can lower your blood pressure.
- It helps protect against “fatty liver.”
- It can lower your stress hormones.
And it’s not only healthy—it’s romantic. In fact, chocolate is a well-known aphrodisiac. It contains phenylethylamine, called the “love drug” because it causes your body to release chemicals that make you feel happy and… well… randy.
So on Valentine’s Day, enjoy the fabulous food that the famous lover Casanova called the “elixir of love.” It’ll make you feel sexy and make you healthier, all at the same time!
However, not all chocolate is alike—so make sure you choose the right chocolate. The secret here is to check out the number on the front of the bar. Most bars will say something like 72% cacao or 85% cocoa. These numbers tell you how much chocolate bang you’re getting for your buck—and the higher the number, the better. (White chocolate, by the way, has no cocoa at all.)
Dark chocolate is healthier for another reason as well: It has less sugar than milk chocolate. If you’re avoiding sugar entirely, you can find brands sweetened with honey or coconut instead.
If you’re used to sugary milk chocolate, it may take you a little while to truly fall in love with dark chocolate. Before long, however, I think you’ll start swooning over its deep, rich flavor. Start out with chocolate that’s 72% cocoa, and work your way up to chocolate that’s 80% cocoa or higher.
But don’t limit yourself to store-bought chocolate! If you’re a baker, it’s fun to make your own sexy Valentine’s Day goodies. Here are three of my own favorite seductive and healthy recipes:
- My Italian Torte Caprese With Chocolate-Covered Bacon Ribbons. (How sinful and sexy is that?)
- My sweet and sassy Chocolate Nut Truffles .
- My fabulous Chocolate Souffle, sweetened with coconut sugar.
I guarantee that any one of these—followed by a bottle of the bubbly—will set the stage for sparks to fly later. But don’t take my word for it; take Casanova’s!
Keep thinking big and living bold!