If you think chocolate is heavenly, you're not alone. Chocolate literally is the "food of the gods" -- that's what its botanical name, Theobroma cacao, means. But you needn't be divine to indulge. Mere mortals adore chocolate in all its forms, from the humble chocolate chip cookie to gourmet goodies, wintry hot chocolate, and decadent desserts. And to make chocolate even more drool-worthy, researchers are discovering this ancient treat may have some modern health benefits.
By Keith Ablow, M.D. You married a great guy. But you're stuck in a romance rut. Here's your road map to getting the relationship you want with the husband you still cherish.
A happily married woman told me recently that she has a secret way of recapturing the feeling of being in love that she had as a young bride. When she and her husband go out to dinner, she'll watch how other people — a waitress, a friend they're out with that night, an acquaintance who stops by their table — are responding...
A: Chocolate dates back centuries. The Mayans traded valuable cacao beans, from which chocolate is made, as a commodity. In 1519, the Aztecs discovered that they could make a delicious drink by adding water and sweeteners to roasted, ground-up cacao beans. The chocolate bar came along later in the 18th century, by mixing chocolate with milk.
Q: Are all chocolates good for you?
A: Chocolate lovers, rejoice -- but be savvy about chocolate's health perks. Chocolate really can be good for you, but not all chocolate is created equally. If you're after health benefits, forget the chewy, caramel, marshmallow or cream-covered chocolates and look for solid dark chocolate.
Q: Why is dark chocolate a better choice than white or milk chocolate?
A: The health benefits of chocolate come from flavonoids, a type of phytochemical found in the cacao bean. Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa than white or milk chocolate. And the more cocoa a chocolate product contains, the richer its health-promoting content.
Q: What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
Q: How much chocolate should I eat to get the health benefits?
A: Limit the portion size because even though dark chocolate contains good-for-you flavonoids, it also has not-so-good-for-you fat, sugar, and calories. Overindulging in chocolate can undo any health benefits and lead to weight gain and related health problems.