The Daily Evergreen

Binge on chocolate, cure Valentine’s blues

Couples’ holidays can feel isolating, but some sweet treats may help.

Who+needs+a+date%3F+Chocolate+can+save+you+from+a+lonely+Valentine%E2%80%99s+Day+and+help+boost+your+health+in+the+process.
Who needs a date? Chocolate can save you from a lonely Valentine’s Day and help boost your health in the process.

Who needs a date? Chocolate can save you from a lonely Valentine’s Day and help boost your health in the process.

NICK SANDIFER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

NICK SANDIFER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Who needs a date? Chocolate can save you from a lonely Valentine’s Day and help boost your health in the process.

AUDREY HUDDLESTON, Evergreen columnist

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Being single on Valentine’s Day can feel like walking around with a bull’s-eye on your back. Even grocery stores seem to mock you, with at least one aisle dedicated to Valentine’s Day since New Year’s. But if you can look past the unfriendly reminders of your loneliness, you may find a potential cure hidden in the pink and red depths: chocolate.

Julie Keller, a nutritionist at Health & Wellness Services, said biting into a piece of chocolate triggers the release of serotonin, a happiness hormone that can also block out pain. The same hormone causes runner’s high, a release of endorphins that gives a calm or happy feeling when you continue to run after your body starts to feel sore and tired.

According to an article posted on Martha Stewart’s website, a good kiss also results in heightened serotonin levels.

Basically, your body will end up feeling the same way if you spend your day eating chocolate instead of  kissing somebody, so really there’s no need to sweat being single. Not to mention, kissing on Valentine’s Day involves the swapping of germs during flu season. So choosing chocolate kisses over real kisses could save you from getting sick, and you’ll feel even better.

Keller said the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. She warned darker chocolate tends to be bitterer, which can be divisive among chocolate lovers.

According to a post from Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Blog, part of the reason darker chocolate is healthier is because it contains more flavanols, which are nutrients found in plants.

The first benefit the blog states is that flavanols can improve memory. So chow down, and hope it helps you remember all your great character traits and how there’s nothing wrong with you for being single.

The blog adds that there are also flavanols in red wine, which just so happens to pair well with chocolate.

Flavanols can be destroyed in the chocolate production process, according to the blog, and the exact amount present can vary by manufacturer.

Keller said the flavanols in chocolate help fight cancer, and that this ingredient can aid in keeping your brain healthy as you age. She said some research shows flavanols protect your heart.

When asked for clarification, Keller said she meant flavanols possibly protect from heart disease, not from heartache or break.

If you want to really treat yourself, ditch the cheap grocery store chocolate and swing by Palouse Country Candy. Owner Pam Dabolt said the chocolate she sells is made from a better part of the cocoa bean. It is mixed for longer, which gives it a creamier taste, and she said the higher cocoa content also makes it taste richer.

Sadly, Keller didn’t recommend binge-eating chocolate. She said the health benefits peak at consuming an ounce a day, and eating too much is unhealthy.

Keller concluded by saying she loves chocolate and is happy it is at least somewhat healthy.

In other good news, Valentine’s Day chocolate may be sold at discounted prices starting Feb. 15. This means you can get that serotonin boost and save money.  Or forget saving money, buy three times the chocolate you normally would and really reap those serotonin benefits.

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Binge on chocolate, cure Valentine’s blues