Researcher Find: All Chocolate Is Healthy
By Sandy Schroeder
If you value chocolate almost as much as gold or silver, you may be delighted to know researchers are now saying all of the chocolate choices can help protect the mind and heart. If you are a dedicated chocolate lover like I am, this is like being given the keys to the castle! I have been eating chocolate forever, but always with a touch of guilt, unless it was dark.
We have all heard about the health value of dark chocolate, but now researchers tell us minimally processed milk and powdered varieties are healthy too. So the next time you reach for a bite of chocolate, if you allow for the sugar and calories, you can skip the guilt.
And why do we love chocolate and chocolate loves us? Check out these reasons.
Lower Blood Pressure – If you eat a small chocolate square with at least 50 percent cocoa, you may reduce your blood pressure. Chocolate’s nutrients and flavonoids help improve blood flow to the brain and heart to reduce blood pressure.
Cut Heart Disease – Researchers have found adults eating an ounce of chocolate a day had lower rates of heart disease than those who did not.
Check Cholesterol – The antioxidants in chocolate also fight plaque accumulation in artery walls, reducing LDL, which is the bad cholesterol.
Daily Hot Chocolate Prescription – If hot cocoa is one of your winter favorites, you will also be pleased to know that Harvard researchers have shown two cups of hot chocolate per day can reduce memory loss and boost brain health. The cocoa has also been shown to spark attention, improve memory and sharpen hands-on skills.
Appetite Alignment – Danish researchers have found eating small amounts of dark chocolate may help individuals let go of their cravings for salty, sweet or fatty foods. The chocolate satisfaction may help to keep them on healthier diets.
Recipe for Health
Here’s a hot and spicy chocolate recipe from the New York Times, perfect to savor the benefits. (Lower fat dairy could be used to make it even more heart healthy.)
Two tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Two tablespoons sugar, or to taste
Three eighths teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 and three quarters cups whole milk
One quarter cup heavy cream
One cinnamon stick
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk chocolate, cocoa, sugar and chile together. Use medium-low heat and whisk until chocolate melts. Slowly whisk in milk, then cream. Add a cinnamon stick and simmer. Remove pot from heat. Cover and steep one hour. Whisk in vanilla for sweetness. Warm over low heat. Strain and serve steaming hot.
As the chocolate health research continues, stay tuned for more new developments. I can hardly wait.