Chocolate: The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful

A chocolate heart dusted with cocoa powder and sitting on a cocoa-covered backgroundChocolate. We love it, but most of us aren’t sure about what it does and doesn’t do for us. Is it good for you or bad for you? Does it really put you in the mood for some loving? Does it really hurt your skin? Can it really save your heart?

Here’s how to better use (and of course, eat) chocolate to enhance your health…

The Good: Eat chocolate for your heart.
High cholesterol is a big contributor to heart disease—the number one killer of women. A low-cholesterol diet tends to limit eggs, meat, cheese, but chocolate should stay on that list of heart-healthy foods. A study found that substances derived from antioxidant-rich cocoa powder may contribute to a reduction in LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and an elevation in HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

The Bad: Just a little is all you really need.
One study found that as few as 30 calories of flavanol-rich dark chocolate lowered blood pressure. Enjoy a couple of individually wrapped squares of your favorite chocolate to keep the calories in check.

The Beautiful: Chocolate can help make your skin softer and smoother.
The antioxidants and cocoa butter in chocolate help moisturize and promote healthy skin-cell development, keeping skin soft and supple, says Mira Goldin, whose New York City spa, Body by Brooklyn, offers a 90-minute chocolate massage that uses melted dark chocolate mixed with massage oil. Many beauty brands offer chocolate products if you’re looking for a DIY spa treatment.

The Good: Chocolate does not cause cavities.
In fact, chocolate may actually help prevent cavities and plaque build-up on the teeth, according to researchers.

The Bad: Indulgence can equal weight gain (okay, maybe this isn’t a surprise).
While it’s not exactly the worst thing in the world, eating too much of that box of chocolates can, of course, amount to some weight gain. However, if you try not to go too overboard, you can successfully aim to work it off with an extra gym session, or by skipping your afternoon treat.

The Beautiful: Think of chocolate as a fountain of youth.
Cocoa beans are filled with antioxidants that combat inflammation from free radicals, which can leave skin puffy and red. According to Allison Tannis, M.S., R.H.N., the author of Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles, when cocoa beans are converted into chocolate bars, they can lose much of their antioxidants, which is why she recommends drinking cocoa with skim milk. Plus, it’s a great mood-boosting food.

By the way…sorry to potentially bust one very popular chocolate myth, but scientists have not been able to prove that chocolate increases sexual desire in women. Sorry guys.

Celebrity Couples Making It Last…Forever

couple walking on a beach(SLIDE)(BlackDoctor.org) — What’s the magic recipe for a successful marriage that lasts? Many of us have heard that it CAN happen to any relationship, but all we need to do is glance at those magazines in the grocery check-out aisles to know that, more often than not, many couples have not figured out what those ingredients are.

Which, perhaps, is the reason why, when we do see couples engaged in an emotionally healthy and positive relationship, it warms our hearts and gives us hope that, if they can do it, maybe the rest of us can, too.

Here are just some of the inspiring examples of celebrity Black couples who are making their marriages last…and last…and last…

 

[*]

 

 

President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama


Years Married: 19

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance


Years Married: 15

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Pauletta Washington & Denzel Washington


Years Married: 29

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Tisha Campbell-Martin & Duane Martin


Years Married: 16

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Keisha & Forrest Whitaker


Years Married: 16

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Nicole Ari Parker & Boris Kodjoe


Years Married: 7

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Justine & Rev. Joseph Simmons


Years Married: 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[*]

 

 

Tracy & Alonzo Mourning


Years Married: 12