Dark Chocolate-It can be part of a Healthy Diet



Is it too good to be true that dark chocolate can offer health benefits? Before that question can be answered I want you to know that I am not stating that chocolate is a “health food”.  Just like anything else, chocolate in moderation (and in small amounts) can be part of a healthy diet, and appears to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Although current research suggests that the Flavanols in cocoa beans act as an antioxidant, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Antioxidants, also found in other foods such as blueberries and acai’ reduce cell damage and helps the blood vessel walls dilate. Aim for about 200 mg of antioxidants daily-about the amount found in a square of 70% dark chocolate. The higher percentage of cocoa it contains the less it has in sugar.
No garden variety Hershey bar qualifies here…..go for an organic high quality bittersweet chocolate. One of my favorites (and yes I am admitting that I have a sweet tooth) is Trader Joe’s 72% Belgium Chocolate Bar. It is on the mildly bitter side but I like that in a chocolate bar since the intense chocolate flavor shines through without being covered up with all that sugar. Believe it or not or or two squares will satisfy your chocolate fix, keeping your portions in check. Another way to get your antioxidants with less fat and sugar is sipping hot cocoa made with almond or skim milk.
If you are feeling ambitious and can resist eating the whole tray try this simple recipe courtesy of http://www.allrecipes.com

Melt in Your Mouth Dark Chocolate (Paleo)

1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (I like King Arthur Flour Brand)
3 Tbsp honey or organic agave
1/2 to 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
sprinkle of sea salt (optional)

Melt oil in med pan. Stir in cocoa, honey and vanilla, making sure to whisk ingredients thoroughly till blended. Stir in sea salt, if desired. Pour into flexible silicone pan or candy mold and chill 1 hour. 
*vary the flavosr by mixing in chopped walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, orange zest , etc. 

If you made this recipe we would love you to share your remarks in the comment section of the blog. Viva la chocolate!!

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