With Easter on the way I felt it was time to talk about my favourite festival and food. Yes that’s right, I love Easter more than I love Christmas. Shocking! When I was a child and even when I was living at home we would always have Easter breakfast. It was a tradition my dear old dad upheld while he was alive. The Easter breakfasts would start on Good Friday and then we would eat them everyday until bank holiday Monday.
These breakfasts would consist of either fried, scrambled, boiled or pouched eggs on toast. Then after we would be allowed a hot cross bun or two with butter and jam. On Easter Sunday, the Easter bunny would visit with our chocolate eggs. As breakfast is my favourite time of the day I’m really not surprised I like Easter more than Christmas.
Although the breakfast were great I also enjoyed receiving my chocolate egg on Easter Sunday. The best part was always the chocolate. I have always loved it and I probably always will. Nowadays I only tend to eat dark chocolate. In recent years, I have been learning about the health benefits and I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.
Dark Chocolate is high in antioxidants and has been proven to lower blood pressure and it can also reduce the rick of blood clotting too. It can help to reduce the risk of stroke by increasing blood circulation to the heart and it lowers the risk from coronary heart disease and death from heart attacks.
The second benefit is that is it can help to balance the immune system. Dark chocolate contains flavonols which can help to prevent the immune system from going into overdrive. It can help to reduce oxidative stress which is due to an imbalance caused by cells fighting free radials and a common caused of many diseases.
My third favourite reason to love chocolate is it can improve brain function and believe me I need that sometimes. The flavonols in dark chocolate have a positive impact on the brain. It can help with better reaction time, visual awareness and a stronger memory. Research is ongoing but it seems that the flavonols increase blood flow to the brain.
The final reason I love chocolate is that it can help to reduce stress. Researchers have found that people who eat dark chocolate on a regular basis report feeling less stressed. It was confirmed that after eating dark chocolate the hormone cortisol was significantly reduced. It may also be related to the effect of dark chocolate of heart health since stress is a risk factor to cardiovascular disease.
Now I realise not everyone enjoys dark chocolate but it does have many health benefits. It can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet as well. The are many ways to incorporate chocolate into your diet and I have lots of recipes on this blog. Don’t forget to take a look. The key to most food is finding balance and having a positive outlook too. Indulging in an occasional treat should be filled with guilt or stressful. Instead enjoy it and move on. Go on, it’s almost Easter.