(NaturalNews) Chocolate and roses are symbols of Valentines Day and any day requiring romance. And both, chocolate and roses, are good for your health, containing nutrients and vitamins that help lower blood pressure, treat depression, grow healthy hair and skin, and increase immunity.
Health benefits and facts about chocolate
Chocolate contains ingredients that can lower your blood pressure, prevent memory loss, reduce insulin resistance that leads to diabetes, and treat depression. Chocolate contains fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels, and magnesium to calm the nervous system. The cocoa bean is high in antioxidants that absorb free radicals. An angiotension enzyme in chocolate has been shown in clinical research to lower blood pressure. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2003. The results of this German research showed that dark chocolate, not white chocolate eaten by the control group, lowers blood pressure. Chocolate also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. The flavonoids in chocolate are catechin and epicatechin; chocolate contains a good deal of the "healthy" fats, the oleic and linoleic acids. Research in 2012 followed 300 subjects with a chronic cough. The cocoa extract, theobromine, was found to help reduce a chronic cough with the same amount of chocolate contained in two ounces of dark chocolate. Unsweetened and unprocessed Dutch cocoa powder is naturally acidic and can help balance the pH of the body. When the cocoa is processed, the acidity is removed along with some of the health benefits.
The darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits. Look for raw or cold processed chocolate, as this type of chocolate will retain more of the antioxidant benefits. Chocolate with 70 percent chocolate in the bar is a good bet.
Roses belong to the same plant family as apples. The rose hips are high in vitamin C, and some varieties of roses produce rose hips as large as a crab apple. Rose petals make a lovely garnish for a salad, and can also be turned into jelly. Rose hip jam and rose hip tea are other great ways to obtain the vitamin C your body needs to improve immunity and prevent colds and flu. Vitamin C is also important for creating collagen in healthy hair and youthful skin. To select the healthiest rose hips or petals, harvest them in the early morning. Choose roses that have not been sprayed with insecticides, those that are grown naturally, or at least, those that have had no toxins applied to the leaves and petals. Roses can be fed the nutrition they need via nutrients added to the soil and this type of natural garden care is a better choice if you are eating the roses, or growing them near a vegetable garden.
About the author: Talya Dagan is a health advocate and health coach, trained in nutrition and gourmet health food cuisine, writing about natural remedies for disease and nutrition and herbal medicine. You can follow her blog at www.talyadagan.com