Although it seems too good to be true, dark chocolate can actually be good for you! When consumed the right kind and in moderation, this delicious treat has some powerful health benefits.
Here are three of the major reasons to indulge:
1. It can help prevent heart disease:
Similar to tea, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are compounds that act as antioxidants. Flavonoids protect cells from harmful molecules-called free radicals. These harmful substances can cause cell damage that leads to heart disease. Flavonoids can also lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol (i.e., the bad cholesterol) .
2. It can improve your mood: Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, and serotonin, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure and calmness.
3. It can protect your skin: German researchers found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, and improve skin’s hydration and complexion.
Chocolate’s Dark Side
Before you ditch your bowl of fruit for a huge box of chocolate, let’s do a quick reality check. A small portion of dark chocolate several times a week can be included as part of a healthy diet. But… There won’t be a “truffle treatment” for heart disease any time soon. The very thing that makes chocolate good for you – the antioxidants called flavanols – also make chocolate taste bitter. As a result, chocolate makers often take out the flavanols, stripping the chocolate of its main health-promoting properties and instead, adding artificial ingredients. If your chocolate says “
processed with alkali” on the nutrition label, then it’s going to have a whole lot less flavanols. Processing with alkali is called dutching.
To get the health benefits of chocolate, CHEESE DARK varieties. The more cocoa solids your chocolate has, the darker the chocolate will appear. The first ingredient on the label should be cocoa, chocolate, or cocoa liquor. Choose a product that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. This percentage should be listed on the label.
Avoid the Milky Way
Most varieties of mass-marketed chocolate bars are made with milk, which gives the chocolate a creamy texture that most people enjoy. Unfortunately, this combination inhibits the absorption of the beneficial compounds in cocoa. In other words, if it contains milk (milk fat, lactose, whey and other milk derivatives), the chocolate no longer has health-enhancing benefits.
Cocoa Butter is Better
During processing, cocoa butter, the natural fat of the cocoa bean, is removed. When a high-quality chocolate bar is made from this processed cocoa, the manufacturer will add cocoa butter back in to the recipe. However, commercial manufacturing giants save money and extend the shelf life of their products by adding unhealthy partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to chocolate instead of cocoa butter. Read labels and choose a chocolate that contains cocoa butter, not partially hydrogenated oils.All
Choose a chocolate that is free of unnecessary additives for a better, healthier product.
Try These HEALTHY and delicious AVOCADO BLACK BEAN BROWNIES!
- 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 of a large ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus
- 1 tablespoon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips + 1/4 c melted for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
- Place all ingredients besides chocolate chips into blender or food processor. Process or puree until ingredients form a smooth batter.
- Add in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and fold into batter.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
- sprinkle with 1/4 of remaining chocolate chips. You can also fold in nuts.
- Cool pan completely then cut into 12 delicious large brownies!
Serve & enjoy!
Serving size: 1 brownie
Calories: 141kcalFat: 6.5gSaturated fat: 3.9gCarbohydrates: 23.6gFiber: 4.9gSugar: 5gProtein: 2.9g