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Valentine's Day chocolate guilt?

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Did you load up on Valentine's Day chocolate? Do you feel guilty? Well, don't!

Studies have found that those consuming the highest levels of chocolate have a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared to those with lower chocolate intake.

If these health benefits haven't convinced you that you should be glad that you love chocolate, check out some additional chocolate benefits.

1. Chocolate can improve you math calculations. Studies have found that after eating chocolate, participants were able to do math calculations more quickly and accurately and were less tired and mentally drained. The reason could possibly be because flavonols, compounds in chocolate with antioxidant-like properties, are thought to improve circulation of blood to the brain.

2. Chocolate fills you up. Researchers found that a snack of chocolate two hours before being served pizza decreased the participants appetite for pizza, and they were less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

3. Chocolate makes you feel better. The reason is that chocolate contains phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are supposed to give you a natural high.

4. Relax with chocolate. Studies have shown that chocolate contains the compound anandamide that activates the same relaxation brain receptors as marijuana.

5. Chocolate should help you live longer. Studies have proven this. Even heart attack survivors who ate chocolate were less likely to die than those who went without.

Of course, there are limits. A one-ounce serving a day is ideal to give you health benefits without weight gain.

Are you happy now?  As you delight in the chocolate flavor, relax, feel your blood flowing smoothly to your brain, and add up all the additional years you will live.