In case you missed it, National Chocolate Day was October 28th. And…National Chocolate Week in the UK was October 10-16. Did you really doubt that chocolate had it’s own celebration “day” and “week”?
But seriously, for some people every day could be “C” day. And why not? Chocolate has of lots health perks to it, unless you eat too much of it. Then the extra calories could be a problem.
My motto for eating chocolate: buy the best you can afford and enjoy every bite!
Just in case you need some motivation for your regular chocolate fix, here are just a few of the health benefits:
- Rich in antioxidants and flavonols, which helps the body by:
- Increasing blood flow to the brain and arteries, which can help blood pressure and brain function. Regular cocoa and consumption may help prevent a high blood pressure disorder of pregnancy called preeclampsia. (Read the study from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.)
- Increasing cerebral blood flow, which could specifically affect risk of stroke. A recent study found a 29% reduced risk of stroke in high chocolate consumers compared to those who were low consumers.
- Protecting brain neurons from damage. This could potentially prevent or reverse age-related cognitive decline.
- Improving mood, but more because of it’s sensory properties, than it’s antioxidants. The smell, taste and creamy texture may stimulate the release of endorphins–the feel good chemicals in the brain.
And now for some healthy recipes to cure your chocolate craving, from my RD colleagues:
If you’re like me, after dinner you crave just a bit of something sweet. When a piece of fruit just doesn’t cut it, try these yummy Dark Chocolate Energy Bites from The Real Food RDs. I absolutely can’t wait to try these. In fact, I just bought all of the ingredients!
Baby it’s cold outside…at least in some parts of the country. And even in the summer, you can get away with drinking hot cocoa when you work in an office that feels like a refrigerator! Drinking cocoa is one of the best ways to get both your chocolate fix, and the healthy flavonols that come with it, along with the extra nutritional punch you get from adding either regular or soy milk. This recipe for a single serving of Dark Hot Cocoa from Taylor at Whole Green Wellness calls for soy, but you can make it with regular milk. (Worried about caffeine? This hot cocoa recipe only contains about 12 mg–about 1/10th the caffeine in an 8 oz cup of coffee.)
So, you want something sweet, but you also want it to be a real food snack. Enter these Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites from Amy Gorin RD. They have 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber each, not to mention the yummy goodness that you get from the nuts, chia and oats.Chocolate is #brain food! Find #better-for-you #recipes here: bit.ly/2g2nq48 Click To Tweet
Brownies…after cocoa and pure dark chocolate, brownies are probably the best way to get the most cocoa antioxidants per bite. Here are 2 recipes:
First up, Black Bean Avocado Brownies from Tawnie at Kroll’s Korner. Depending on your slant, the name can be a total motivator or a big turn-off. For me, I say, give me seconds for this brownie with it’s cocoa goodness plus the fiber and nutrition from beans and avocado. (And it’s still the Year of Pulses!) These are so healthy, I would probably eat one in the car for breakfast when I don’t have time for a “proper” breakfast!
Another brownie with a bit of a twist is this one for Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies from Chrissy at Snacking in Sneakers. When cherries are not in season, so you can sub dried cherries or another fresh chopped fruit instead. (Wonder how persimmons would be?!) These also contain black beans plus applesauce and which give it a rich fudgy consistency.
I like fudge but I think of it as instant sugar overload, so I rarely buy it or eat it. But when I saw this recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge from Julie at RDelicious Kitchen, I had to take a closer look. And I’m glad I did! Sweetened with pure maple syrup and bananas instead of corn syrup, it’s gets points for being more natural.
When the candy drawer at works gets replenished, I scavenge for a few mini peanut butter cups to squirrel away for one of those days. (You know the ones, when you just need a bite of chocolate yum…) When I saw Katie Cavuto’s recipe for Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Butter Cups that had just 2 ingredients, I responded with a “heck yeah!” Can’t wait to try them!Craving #chocolate? Try these 7 yummy but #healthy chocolate #recipes! #RDchat #eatrightpro… Click To Tweet
Hope you enjoy the recipes. For information about eating chocolate during pregnancy or when trying to conceive, check out my post, Chocolate for Fertility.
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