DID YOU KNOW…Both dark chocolate and cocoa have a greater antioxidant capacity and a greater total flavanol, and polyphenol, content than the fruit juices! (Which is outstanding because of the glycemic value of cocoa v. fruit juice is much better too!)
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death of people in your city, state, country, and world. But guess what? Great news for all of the chocoholics! Dark chocolate and cocoa are super foods that contain a very high amount of antioxidants – meaning they have been proven to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol therefore lowering your risk of heart disease! The darker the chocolate the more super the food!
Another bonus is that cocoa has a low glycemic index (GI). Although it is a sweet treat, it doesn’t impact our blood sugar in the way that sugar does, which is important when it comes to diabetes prevention.
So far, chocolate does not seem to be so bad, right? Well, what about all the fat? Chocolate in general does have a lot of fat. Although dark chocolate is different; it contains a special saturated fat from the cocoa bean that is unusual. Research has found that this fat actually acts more like an unsaturated fat in the body, therefore not resulting in increased cholesterol like other saturated fats do. Another chocolate bonus!
But there is one downfall of chocolate – the calories. On average a chocolate bar has ~220 calories, therefore it is essential to enjoy your love of chocolate in small quantities!
You gotta try this!! When it comes to cooking with cocoa, most recipes include adding fat (butter) to make it chocolaty. Keep in mind a heart healthy solution you can try is lowering the fat in the recipe by choosing an alternative, such as I can’t believe it’s not butter sticks. It looks like butter, cooks and bakes like butter, but has half the saturated fat!
Making healthy substitutions is the easiest way to keep your heart and your taste buds happy.
Try this recipe for DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES from best-selling author Ellie Krieger, Registered Dietitian on the Food Network.
Click on the photo to see a video of Ellie making these scrumptious brownies!
To see the actual recipe click here!
The ingredients we use in recipes are important. Not just for taste, but also how they affect the body.
Here are a couple of things to consider about ingredients used in this chocolaty recipe.
Dark chocolate– Try dark chocolate that is 60-70% cocoa solids. It is the “perfect combination between health and taste.”
Limit to 2 tbsp of butter – Butter is needed to mix with the sugar in dessert recipes to give them the right textures – try I can’t believe it’s not butter sticks.
Whole-wheat pastry flour – This flour has more fiber and vitamins than white flour, and can be a sneaky healthy substitution for your family. It is “soft and tender, just like all regular purpose flour, but it has all the goodness of whole wheat.”
Cocoa powder- It is full of heart healthy antioxidants with out the fat
Light brown sugar – provides flavor to your dessert – try splenda brown sugar substitute to cut the calories and sugar!
Eggs– are essential to hold foods together when baking, but they do contain a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol – give egg substitutes a try, you will never know the difference – but your heart will thank you – ½ the calories, no fat or cholesterol!
Yogurt– provides moisture to baked foods, your best bet is low-fat or nonfat
Canola oil – is the heart healthy fat of choice.
Vanilla – is a calorie free flavor for you desserts.
Walnuts – are a great addition to any food to provide your heart healthy essential fats.
Cooking spray – is a great way to cut the calories without cutting the flavor.
To learn more about healthy substitutions or cooking, or to speak with our nutrition staff, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC