To Your Health And Pleasure On Valentine’s Day

The Aztecs used chocolate as money. This week we use it to demonstrate romantic intent, welcome or not, but another more reliable benefit of chocolate has emerged in recent years: it’s good for us. A study published two years ago in BMC Medicine found that eating dark chocolate can significantly lower one’s blood pressure, but conveniently, only if the chocolate eater has blood pressure higher of 140 over 80. More recently, high chocolate consumption was linked with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, a 31 percent reduction in diabetes risk and a 29 percent reduction in stroke risk when compared to low chocolate consumption. ABC News reported that the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge and published in the British Medical Journal, reviewed data collected from more than 114,000 people. Dr. David Katz, director of medical studies in public health at Yale University, advises readers that not just any chocolate bar will do: the best results are associated with dark chocolate — 60 percent cocoa or higher. Other research has shown that chocolate activates a reward area in our brains called the nucleus accumbens, an area that also responds, not coincidentally, to cocaine, nicotine, caffeine and yes, orgasms, whose influence on the nucleus accumbens is seen below.

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