Not All Chocolates are Created Equal

DR. D dk chocolate2The next time your sweet tooth has you craving something chocolatey, reach for something that’s both good and good for you.

Dark chocolate, in comparison to other types, has added benefits to just being a tasty treat.

First, dark chocolate has a higher nutritional value than milk chocolate, since it contains more of the original cocoa. Sugar and cream are often added to milk chocolate, making it less natural and pure, not to mention adding calories. The additional cocoa in dark chocolate provides more flavonoids, an antioxidant.

These flavonoids are the basis for much of the dark chocolate advantage. Flavonoids have been found to help reduce risks of cancer and even heart disease. They provide further cardiovascular support, aiding in lowering blood pressure and hindering the effects of the bad cholesterol, LDL.

Flavonoids have also been found to increase brain function. In fact, one recent study showed elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment on a high-flavonoid cocoa diet performed better on memory, verbal and other cognitive tests than their counterparts on a diet less-rich in flavonoids.

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is more filling than other varieties. For those trying to watch their weight, but still wanting to have a healthy indulgence every once in a while, dark chocolate can provide a sweet treat, without leaving you craving and hungry for more. It also has a lower glycemic index than other types of chocolate, preventing large spikes in blood sugar.

And it won’t just fill you up, it will make you feel happier, too. It stimulates endorphin production, and has serotonin, acting as an anti-depressive and decreasing chronic fatigue. Additionally flavonoids absorb UV light, promoting blood flow to the skin, therefore improving complexion.

So, just remember: when it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. The next time you are at the supermarket, look for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. After all, dark chocolate contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium, making it tasty and a valuable part of healthy nutrition.

Like all foods, especially sweets, consume dark chocolate in coordination with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean meats.

Dark Chocolate cake

Healthy dark chocolate recipe:

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 60 min

Other time: 0 min

 Serves: 14

Ingredients

1 spray cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup regular butter, melted
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sauerkraut, pureed until smooth
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and 2/3 cup of cocoa. Add melted butter, hot water and vanilla extract; mix well. Add sauerkraut and blend thoroughly.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan; bake in center of oven until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto a baking rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder before slicing into 14 pieces. Yields 1 slice per serving.

Notes

  • You can easily change the flavor of this cake by adding strong coffee instead of the hot water or adding cayenne pepper and cinnamon with the vanilla.

Weight Watcher Points: 6

Source: http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeId=140351

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