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Chocolate Banishes the Winter Blues

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Many of us reach for a sweet treat in the afternoons when the days are cloudy and the nights come too soon

Many of us reach for a sweet treat in the afternoons when the days are cloudy and the nights come too soon. Research shows a clear link between such cravings and depression.

Eating healthy foods (such as whole grains and low-fat proteins) and getting plenty of exercise are still your best options. But sometimes a chocolate bar is simply the easiest pick-me-up. Just make sure you're getting the right kind of chocolate, and you won't have to feel quite so guilty.

Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids, which have been reported to demonstrate antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumour activities. Choose chocolate containing at least 70-percent cocoa solids; that's where you'll find health-promoting antioxidants.

Chocolate contains a number of chemical substances that act as stimulants, increasing the activity of neurotransmitters and unleashing uplifting endorphins in the brain. Caffeine, phenylethylamine, and theobromine all found in chocolate can offer the chocolate eater a lift. Chocolate is also a rich source of magnesium; deficiencies of this mineral have been linked to depression.

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