Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Chocolate - Healthy or Harmful - Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm happy to let Nancy J. Cohen take over Cozy Up With Kathy today. Nancy pens the Bad Hair Day Mystery series. HAIR BRAINED, the fourteenth book in the series, was released last week.

Chocolate—Healthy or Harmful? 

We’ve all heard that dark chocolate is good for you. It’s certainly a treat we crave when we need a mood boost or wish to reward ourselves. Why is it considered a healthful addition to your diet? And how can chocolate be harmful to dogs?

Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins. In humans, these antioxidants help our body's cells resist damage from free radicals. Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, flavanols can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain, and make blood platelets less sticky.

Chocolate lore dates back in history. Early South American natives would harvest cacao beans and grind them with water and spices to create a beverage. Spanish conquerors brought the plants home to Spain, where the drink became a treat enjoyed by royalty. From there, it made its way to France. At some point, somebody added sugar to the mix. Cacao eventually entered the United States, and Hershey noticed it. Now chocolate is a treat enjoyed around the world.

Here’s a conversation between Marla, my hairstylist sleuth in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries, and Teri the chocolatier who operates an artisan chocolate factory. Marla is investigating an accident that landed her best friend in the hospital. One of the last places this friend had visited was a chocolate shop. Teri is answering Marla’s question about the health benefits of chocolate.

“Cocoa contains flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants. These prevent cellular damage due to free radicals and help to lower your risk for heart disease. Flavonoids also improve blood flow to your brain and cause your body to release endorphins. Dark chocolate has a higher content than milk chocolate. You’ll want to avoid cocoa powder that has undergone Dutch processing. It’s been treated with alkali agents that reduce the flavonoid value.”

“How about caffeine? Like, if I eat too much chocolate, won’t it make my heart race?”

“Cocoa contains some caffeine, but it also has theobromine. Both of these compounds can increase your heart rate. Again, dark chocolate has a higher concentration than milk chocolate. And these chemicals are usually not present in white chocolate.”

Marla thought of her pets back home. She’d heard cautionary tales about canines and sweets. “Why is chocolate so dangerous to dogs?”

“They metabolize theobromine more slowly. Dogs can get theobromine poisoning from even a small amount of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is even more toxic to them. It can lead to seizures and death. The same risk is reported for cats, but they’re less likely to eat anything sweet.”

“When my friends were here, did they try your desserts?” Marla pointed to the other tour guests sitting at various tables and indulging in treats.

Teri chuckled. “Yes, they made an afternoon of it and seemed to enjoy their visit. Your tall blonde and I got into a discussion on recipes. Sometimes you can discover hidden treasures in old recipe books. She’d found a love letter inside one of her mother’s cookbooks. It was addressed to her mom and predated her marriage.”

“Oh?” This was news. Tally hadn’t mentioned anything to Marla about it, but that seemed to be the norm for their relationship lately. “Did she say any more on the subject?”

“Yes, it led her to an unexpected, and unnerving, discovery.”

Oh my. What did Marla’s friend Tally discover in her mother’s vintage cookbook? Will this revelation help Marla in her quest to track down a murderer?

Chocolate is a sweeter topic. Which kind do you fancy—dark or milk chocolate? What’s your favorite treat?

Follow Nancy Online


When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally—or Ken in the car with her—out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. Her first book in this genre won the HOLT Medallion Award. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, she is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

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  1. Loved the post. Chocolate is a favored item here and we use both dark and milk chocolate. Just depends on what we are doing. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. So we try to be sensible. Della at deepotter at peoplepc dot com

    1. I'm a fan of dark chocolate myself. I like Hershey's kisses and M&Ms as favorite treats. Otherwise, it's Ghiradelli or Godiva truffles.

  2. About the tea lovers giveaway. The title of the book is especially funny. Claudia Christian posted on her page a picture she took while shopping. It shows the label on the counter before an Almay product. It says "Face Removal 4.99" I was thinking it would be 'useful' in advertizing your book "Facials Can be Fatal". I saw that post and remembered this giveaway and had a good laugh. It is on my page if your interested. Della at deepotter at peoplepc dot com

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. You're always welcome at Cozy Up With Kathy!