Fitness Blog by Mike Farho

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Cocoa pod in Cote d'Ivoire

Good-Mood Food

Mon, 14 Aug 2006 Source: Realage.com

Which food can make you happier: an apple or some chocolate?

If you immediately said "Chocolate!" you're right, but (there's always a but) only if you really enjoy it. If a wave of fat-and-calorie guilt washes over you after the last bite, it negates the mood boost that chocolate provides. Sweet solution: Buy chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa. It's high in cholesterol-fighting antioxidants, and the flavor is so intense that a little goes a long way.

Cocoa is derived from the seed of the cocoa tree and is an essential component in real chocolate. It's rich in flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that boost cardiovascular health by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. Cocoa also has been found to fight LDL -- the bad cholesterol that encourages plaque to build up and clog your arteries. So when you need a chocolate fix, nibble on dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher.

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