by Margaret Kirschner
Can eating chocolate make you a better mom? No, of course not, but there are benefits that may make indulging in high-quality chocolate worthwhile. Recently, there's been a "chocolate revolution" marked by an increasing interest in high-quality, handmade chocolates and sustainable, effective cacao farming and harvesting methods. Here in Asheville, NC, we are fortunate to happily support several local companies providing us with their amazing chocolate confections.
For pregnant mothers: eating chocolate every day might benefit fetal growth and development. This is the conclusion of a study presented at the 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
For tense types: Soothing the stress
A study found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed.
For foodies: Superfood status
Just how nutritious is dark chocolate? It has bona fide superfood status. A typical dark chocolate bar contains as much antioxidant capacity as 2 3/4 cups of green tea, 1 glass of red wine, or 2/3 cup of blueberries. In addition, chocolate also contains minerals and dietary fiber.
For lovers: If you think it is an aphrodisiac, it’s true for you.
The Aztecs may have been the first to believe in the connection between chocolate and amorous feelings, but numerous studies have yet to find conclusive evidence that chocolate physically gets the fires burning. That said, chocolate is sensual to eat, lowers stress, and may have aphrodisiac qualities that are psychological in origin.
The downside of chocolate
Chocolate has a high calorie count with limited nutritional value and contains large amounts of sugar. As with everything, enjoy chocolate in moderation. An average 3-ounce bar of milk chocolate has 420 calories and 26 grams of fat, almost as much as a Big Mac.
So, if you are looking to enjoy some high quality chocolate with your sweetie (or to treat yourself) this Valentine's Day, check out these local Asheville chocolate artisans:
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Sinless RAW chocolate