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  Improve Your Sex Life With Dark Chocolate
Valentine’s Day should include some kind of chocolate, just because. Find out how chocolate can be an aphrodisiac in the bedroom and lead to a healthier heart!

Chocolate is sexy by itself, but it can also make you feel sexier.

Chocolate contains L-arginine, an amino acid that can be an effective natural sex-enhancer for both women and men.”
Many people have heard that chocolate is for lovers. But it’s not just because women love chocolate and get excited about opening a red heart-shaped box. There’s a biological basis for chocolate’s sexy effects. Dark chocolate possesses substances that affect our moods, energy, and sexual function in truly remarkable ways. Dark chocolate also has fantastic health benefits for the heart.

Here are four ways chocolate can help you feel healthier and sexier.

Increases blood flow to sexual organs. Chocolate contains L-arginine, an amino acid that can be an effective natural sex-enhancer for both women and men. It works by increasing nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to your sexual organs, which increases sensation, satisfaction, and desire.

Stimulates and elevates mood. Chocolate is known as a super libido food partly because it is a rich source of PEA, the acronym for phenylethylamine, sometimes referred to as the “love supplement” or the "romance chemical." As a stimulant and mood elevator, PEA can induce sensations of euphoria—and it’s naturally released by your brain when you’re in love. This chemical promotes the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which enhances feelings of well-being, joy, and pleasure.

Acts as an energy booster. Chocolate really packs an aphrodisiac punch because it also contains the compound theobromine, found in tea and kola nuts as well. This substance works on the central nervous system, causing one to feel stimulated and excited.

Benefits your physical heart. In Chinese medicine, the heart is considered our emotional center. It’s no accident that we clutch our chest when we talk about love. There’s a profound connection between a healthy physical heart and our capacity to feel and love deeply, and to live fully. Our heart is the organ associated with love, caring, bonding, and intimacy. Dark chocolate is a heart-healthy food. L-arginine in chocolate lowers blood pressure. And a substance called flavonols found in cocoa beans helps the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals. In the heart, this substance helps prevent atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries, which also improves blood flow through the heart.

A final note: If you’re going to indulge in chocolate regularly, dark chocolate is best—as pure and unsweetened as possible. Watch out for chocolate that has added goodies, such as nuts, marshmallows, caramel, and other fattening ingredients. The extra fat and calories in other chocolate products can end up having poor health consequences and anti-aphrodisiac effects.

Before you grab a chocolate bar, it’s important to know that all chocolate is not created equal. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce the strong, pungent flavor of pure cocoa. The more chocolate is processed through fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, and other means, the more flavonols are lost. The type of chocolate that has the most flavonals is natural cocoa powder (not Dutch cocoa, though, because it is alkalized cocoa). Second highest in flavonals is unsweetened baking chocolate. Dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate rank third, with milk chocolate and chocolate syrup at the bottom of the list.

Enjoy moderate portions (e.g., 1 ounce) of dark chocolate several times a week and your heart will thank you.

Dr. Laurie Steelsmith is a licensed naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, and nutrition expert with a 20-year private practice in Honolulu. A leading spokesperson on natural medicine, she has appeared widely on TV, radio, and in print. She and her husband, Alex Steelsmith, are co-authors of "Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine" (Hay House, 2012) and her previous bestseller, "Natural Choices for Women’s Health" (Three Rivers Press). Learn more at www.drlauriesteelsmith.com.

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