Dr. Rhonda Low shares her secrets to a sexy (and healthy) Valentine's Day
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Dr. Rhonda Low shares her secrets to a sexy (and healthy) Valentine's Day

The Health Benefits of Chocolate

According to Nielsen Research, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy will be sold during Valentine’s week. But buying chocolate doesn’t just have to be in the spirit of love – there are convincing health benefits to eating this sweet indulgence.

A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that the antioxidant properties in dark chocolate can have a positive impact on blood pressure in the short term. It seems an association between the cocoa polyphenols in chocolate and a natural chemical in our blood helps our arteries expand and relax. And according to studies published in the European Heart Journal and Journal of Nutrition, eating as little as a ¼ oz. (about 10 grams) of dark chocolate per day can help to lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart and boost memory, attention span and problem-solving skills.

But make sure you give your loved one the right kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in the cocoa liquor that contains the polyphenols (you can tell by the bitter taste), but it needs to have at least 75 per cent cocoa for you to reap the health benefits. Milk chocolate doesn’t have the same effect because it doesn’t have as much cocoa liquor, and white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor at all.

The Health Benefits of Wine
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The Health Benefits of Wine

When it comes to affairs of the heart, don’t forget red wine, which is another powerful source of antioxidants. Red wine contains tannins, compounds derived from the red pigments in grape skins. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows these antioxidants can help reduce the risk of heart attack by decreasing the formation of blood clots as well as positively impacting cholesterol levels.

The Health Benefits of Sex
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The Health Benefits of Sex

There is no scientific evidence to suggest chocolate and red wine are aphrodisiacs, but if they help put you in the mood for love, then why let the lack of proof get in the way? Because there may be another health benefit to Valentine’s Day…

A recent study by scientists at the University of Quebec found that having sex can burn more calories than taking a walk. The study evaluated 21 heterosexual couples between the ages of 18 and 35 and found that having sex burns, on average, 4.2 calories per minute for men and 3.1 calories per minute for women. If the average session lasted 24.7 minutes, this equated to burning 104 calories for men and 69 calories for women. Although sex doesn’t burn as many calories as jogging, most study participants reported that they found sex more enjoyable than running (duh) so having sex can be a pleasurable way to supplement your regular exercise regimen.