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Chocolate’s Deep, Dark Secret

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s no time like the present to talk about …

…CHOCOLATE!!

health benefits of chocolateNever has there been a food that means so much to so many. Chocolate is revered by people across the world for good reason. It’s botanical name, Theobroma cacao, literally translates to “Food of the Gods.”

And we’ll be honest, we’re big fans of that rich, deep, dark chocolate goodness at the Mohr House.

Though chocolate has been a part of Valentine’s Day for as long as we know it, its drool worthy, rich flavor also boasts some impressive health benefits to stake its mark in American Heart Month. While this is great news for chocolate lovers, it’s important to distinguish the differences among the different types of chocolate.

Four pumps of chocolate syrup in your latte or marshmallow filled candy bars don’t quite come with the same benefits as 100% raw cacao, which is loaded with flavanols, a super healthy phytonutrient. These flavanols can support cardiovascular health, circulation, and much more.

Let’s look at some of the science behind this powerful health food and see how you can apply it to your own daily routine. A study out of the University of Barcelona found daily consumption of 40 grams of cocoa powder with skim milk for 4 weeks boosted HDL (the heart healthy cholesterol) and reduced LDL (the dangerous cholesterol).

Another recent review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the results of 42 studies to determine overall effects on cardiovascular disease. This review supported the study above, with improvements in cholesterol, but also found reductions in blood pressure, improved circulation and improved insulin resistance. And these results may not be limited to just adults. An Australian study found 7 grams of dark chocolate (equal to about 1 tablespoon of our favorite product — Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder) daily improved children’s blood pressure as well.

Isn’t it nice to know science supports the benefits of having a little homemade hot chocolate on a cool February evening?

Here’s a favorite recipe around here — Ella’s a big fan herself and it’s nice for us knowing she’s getting more than just pure sugar and other “junk” in most hot chocolate packets:

Antioxidant Powerhouse Hot Chocolate 
(from The Doctored Kitchen)

2 tablespoon Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao powder
1 to 2 tablespoons Navitas Naturals Coconut sugar (or local honey)
1 Cup unsweetened, Vanilla Almond Milk (or low-fat Dairy Milk)
Dash Cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
dash Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients with milk in a medium saucepan. Heat it over low to medium heat, without causing it to boil. Stir continuously with a whisk to dissolve the sugar and distribute the cacao. Serve when hot.

Want another way to enjoy the heart healthy benefits of cacao? Try sprinkling Cacao Nibs in a high protein Greek yogurt. This adds a boost of flavor and gives a nice little crunch.

Mind doing us a favor and if you found this useful, please click the like button below to spread the Valentine’s Day love and share it with your friends!!

One Response to Chocolate’s Deep, Dark Secret

  1. Andy Glenn March 1, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Ever since someone had me try hot pepper chocolate, sweet chocolate now feels bland…

    It seems the darker, the hotter has become my way to go so this is right up my alley.

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