Nutrition 101, Recipes
Eat Chocolate and Stay Healthy on Valentine’s Day
February 12, 2013
The health benefits of cocoa are your ticket to eating chocolate guilt-free this Valentine's day - in moderation of course!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and for many that means finding chocolate for your sweetie. If you are a lover of chocolate, it is one of those foods that can be both a pleasurable and health-conscious choice - if you choose wisely.
While both dark and milk chocolates contain cocoa butter and cocoa liquor, differences in the amounts of these (and any additional sugar and milk or cream) are what distinguish milk from dark. It also happens to be what distinguishes the healthy pleasure of dark chocolate from other less healthy varieties.
Since we have cocoa and its flavonoids to thank for the health benefits of chocolate, it makes sense that dark chocolate with its higher cocoa content will have more health benefits. In contrast, milk chocolate has less cocoa and therefore far fewer flavonoid-related health benefits. The addition of milk or cream to milk chocolate increases the amount of unhealthy saturated fat in the treat. Added sugar and other ingredients such as caramel, jellies or creams, which often come in those assorted chocolate boxes, further counteract any healthy qualities of the chocolate. And what about white chocolate? Without the cocoa, white chocolate has none of the beneficial flavonoids of its dark counterpart.
Therefore, this Valentine’s Day, do your (or your Valentine’s) heart a favor and look for a good quality, dark chocolate (over 60% cocoa) and savor it slowly, 1-2 oz at a time. And for a balanced, chocolatey start to the morning, check out this Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Smoothie:
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1 medium banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 scoop (24 g) whey protein powder (optional)
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