With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought it appropriate to highlight the most popular vegetable for this holiday, and that would be chocolate, of course.
Chocolate is one of the most versatie veggies in the kitchen; well it's probably the one veggie that's eaten away from the kitchen more than in the kitchen. It can be consumed "raw" at room temperature, or melted and combined with fruits, nuts, pretzels; just about anything you want is better dipped in chocolate.
Just like with the other vegetables, "they" say that the more colorful it is, the more vitamin and mineral-rich it is. So it is with chocolate. The dark chocolate has better health benefits than milk chocolate, but here are some of the virtues of chocolate:
Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay. Of course, this is counteracted by the high sugar content of milk chocolate.
The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator (great post-argument).
The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which may raise good cholesterol.
Drinking a cup of hot chocolate before meals may actually diminish appetite.
Men who eat chocolate live a year longer than those who don't.
The flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
Mexican healers use chocolate to treat bronchitis and insect bites.
The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being (woohoo!)
You might be saying to yourself that chocolate isn't a vegetable. I beg to differ: If you check out the definition of chocolate on Wiki, this is what you'll see:
Chocolate is derived from the seeds of a fleshy pod from the fruit of the cacao tree. The scientific name of the cacao tree is Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the Gods" and it is classified as a vegetable.
By the way, by definition, fruits are vegetables. The fleshy part of the fruit of cacao is also edible.
Now for the recipe: Mexican Chocolate Chili
It's in the Allrecipes.com website and here's the link.
Enjoy, and EAT MORE CHOCOLATE! Don't you think the world would be a happier place if everybody ate chocolate every day?