Nutrition

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Obsession-Worthy Foods

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Since its discovery (which may be as early as 1400 B.C.), chocolate has been an object of obsession. According to Smithsonian magazine, the Aztecs used it during sacred ceremonies (including serving it as a "pick-me-up" to people before they were to be sacrificed), and soldiers received chocolate as part of their of wages during the American Revolution.

The fervor hasn’t diminished: Today, the average American consumes half a pound a month, while the Swiss average 240 bars per person per year!

Chocolate’s health benefits may have something to do with it: The antioxidants found in dark chocolate (at least 50 to 70 percent cacao) may help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease the risk for heart disease. These powerful antioxidants may also help relieve emotional stress by lowering stress hormones, says a 2009 clinical trial published by the American Chemical Society. (Just remember, all good things in moderation!)

Check out these dark chocolate recipes on our Pinterest board > 

By Alexia Severson. Published February 3, 2014. Alexia Severson earned her Master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism and is a health and lifestyle writer living in New Mexico.