Ah, February, when a young man’s fancy turns to ... actually, I can’t recall. Too many decades have fluttered past since I’ve been a young man.

But I can say, with some authority, a cranky old geezer’s fancy turns to chocolate.

And why not? The more doses of chocolate with which we inoculate ourselves, the greater our serenity.

Last year, the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center reported to the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego that its research proved dark chocolate reduces stress.

That is why you’ve never seen a picture of a famous general astride a fiery horse leading a charge into battle with an outstretched hand holding a chocolate bar.

Flash a Hershey’s Dark instead of a gleaming saber and everyone will gather round for a picnic instead.

Obviously, we need chocolate.

But what if you’re still clinging to your New Year’s resolutions about healthier eating? Must you abandon all hope of calm and peace for the sake of a couple of notches on your belt?

Of course not. With Valentine’s Day galloping down upon us, swishing swords of the sweet stuff in every direction, let me remind you of one of the basic tenets of this column: Chocolate is a health food. Science says so.

Not only did the researchers at Loma Linda prove stress relief, they also concluded dark chocolate reduces inflammation and improves memory, immunity and mood.

I’m obviously behind in taking my medicine. Otherwise, I’d remember what a young man’s heart fancies come spring.

Ah well, if it’s important my wife will tell me. Funny she’s been so quiet lately, as if something’s bothering her. Could it be something I’m forgetting?

Anyway, the Loma Linda crew claims this is the first time the effect of chocolate on cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health has been studied on human subjects.

Wait, haven’t we all been studying this for years? I sure hope all those other scientists weren’t wasting their chocolate on lab rats, monkeys and rabbits. Rabbits just don’t have the same appreciation for chocolate as humans. Save the animals — we’ll all volunteer!

The researchers said it needs to be dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao.

Naturally. I’ve been reporting the wonders of dark chocolate in this space for years. Here’s a quick review from dozens of scientific reports:

Dark chocolate packs a nutritious wallop, reduces heart disease risk by breaking up bad cholesterol, improves blood flow to lower blood pressure and heighten brain power, reduces the risks of stroke, helps protect the skin from the effects of the sun, boosts athletic performance and even can confuse mosquitoes, just to name a few.

It’s clear to me chocolate’s the answer to any question, whether it be mood, stress, cookies or that thing young men fancy in February. Whatever it was.

I know, I’ll pick up some awesomely restorative chocolate on the way home tonight. That ought to help me remember.

While I’m at the store, I’ll get Valentine’s Day dark chocolate for my wife, too, one of those big heart-shaped ones that say, “I love you.” I fancy that will fix whatever’s been troubling her.


send chocolate kisses to Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.

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