Chocolate, especially dark chocolate made with a minimum of 70% cocoa, and eaten in moderation, actually improves physical and mental health.
• Chocolate lowers blood pressure. Cocoa flavanols help arteries to relax, which in turn reduces blood pressure.
• Chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cocoa powder extract helps prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), which means less cholesterol that blocks arteries.
• Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which helps prevent certain types of cancers and slows the signs of aging.
• Chocolate is high in fiber, which helps us feel fuller faster. We are less likely to eat more because our hunger is satiated.
• Chocolate increases serotonin levels, which helps us feel happier and less depressed. We are better able to gain a proper perspective on life rather than feel overwhelmed or anxious.
So we see the scientific evidence for the importance of chocolate, but what about the emotional impact?
The 21st century woman is often so busy taking care of others she forgets to tend to her own needs. She gives 100% to work, children, spouse, and ministry with little leftover for self-care.
Over a prolonged period of time, continued self-sacrifice can have damaging effects; she is no longer able to care for others because she has not cared for herself.
The airline industry recognizes this need for putting ourselves first. Emergency protocol dictates the adult place an oxygen mask over her face before trying to assist others.
Meeting our personal needs is not selfish; rather, it is essential to maintaining good health so we can be of value and service to the Lord’s purpose for our lives.
Carve out a bit of time each day for self-care. This would include time for daily exercise, a good night’s sleep, and a bit of chocolate. Give yourself permission to indulge and take time to savor the experience.
Slowly unwrap the foil square with child-like anticipation. Allow the aroma to whet your appetite. Hold it in your hand, perhaps allowing it to melt a bit on your fingertips; savor that last bit at the end.
Try these two methods of eating chocolate: you can put the entire piece in your mouth at one time, or you can nibble small bites over a prolonged period of time.
Whichever way you choose, close your eyes, rest in the moment, and take time to savor the experience. Allow the morsel to slowly melt. Feel the cream as it gradually coats your tongue.
Notice the complexity of flavors…how many can you name? Like a fine wine, chocolate provides a variety of taste experiences. The initial attack may be bittersweet, but the finish will linger with a developing aftertaste.
Once the candy is gone, remain in the moment a while longer. Relax, breathe deeply, and thank the Lord for sweet indulgences that are not only good, but good for you.
©2015 Molly Totoro
Molly Totoro is a writer and a recently retired English teacher who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share” and is currently establishing a ministry, Milestone Memoirs, where she helps others discover and write their stories to impact future generations. Molly shares the importance of leaving a legacy at Stepping Stone Publications, and she frequently blogs at My Cozy Book Nook.