Boost Your Metabolism Series- Cocoa
BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
The secret to boosting your metabolism is FEEDING your body what it needs.
You must eat the right foods, in the right quantities, to get your metabolism working for you, rather than against you. The amount of water, fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol, EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), and vitamins & minerals you consume on a daily basis will either increase your metabolism or your waistline.
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death of people in your city, state, country, and world. But guess what? Here’s some great news for all you chocoholics! Dark chocolate and cocoa are super foods that contain a very high amount of antioxidants and flavanols – 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 other desserts do, 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!
How to use dark chocolate and cocoa to help optimize your metabolism
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHOCOLATE
So what makes dark chocolate better for us than milk chocolate? Milk chocolate is by far one of the most popular types of chocolates used in baking and commercial sweets. The concerns with milk chocolate are high saturated fat (the artery clogging type), high in calories (the weight gaining type), and high in sugar (increasing our blood sugar type!)
Try dark chocolate with the highest percent of cocoa, preferably 60-70% cocoa solids (it’s written on the package). It is the “perfect combination between health and taste.”
When using cocoa in a recipe, limit the fat to 2 tbsp of butter – Butter is needed to mix with the sugar and cocoa in dessert recipes to give them the right textures – try I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Sticks.
When it comes to reaping all the chocolatey benefits hidden in dark chocolate, one of the most important things to keep in mind is moderation! One dark chocolate bar has 180 calories, of which 108 calories are from fat. The heart healthy benefits from the dark chocolate are there, but we have to be careful with the total calories and fat in combination with the rest of our diet. Keep your portions in check! Try 1 oz or 1/3 of a dark chocolate bar, about 4 squares or less than 40 grams per serving.
3. CAUTION WITH THE “EXTRAS”
Beware of dark chocolate with extra calories, fat, or sugar additives, such as marshmallow, caramel, nougat, nuts, etc. Another red flag in your quest to picking the right chocolate is to beware of the desserts! Most baked goods have added butter, sugar and other high calories ingredients that cancel out any of the health benefits that you may have received from the dark chocolate alone.
TIP- Get your chocolate fix by adding dark chocolate to your favorite healthy recipes.
Here’s an example of a recipe that uses dark chocolate. Enjoy!
Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins
Inspired by Carrots-n-Cake and About: Lowfat Cooking
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons canola oil
one large egg
one large egg white
1/4 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line muffin tin with muffin cups.
- Whisk dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl.
- Add pumpkin, oil, milk, and egg and egg white to a medium size bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Fill muffin cases evenly and bake for 18 to 25 minutes
Makes 14 muffins.