It’s Valentine’s! The best gift to symbolize love during this time of year is chocolate. Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are phytonutrients in plant-based food products that contribute to the color of the foods. Flavonoids act as antioxidants to help the body resist cell damage caused by free radical like normal body functions such as breathing, and environmental contaminants.
The antioxidant properties are centralized in the cocoa bean it self, which is very bitter. Additives, such as sugar, butter and milk are added to enhance the flavor and take away from the cocoa bitterness. The additives might take away from the benefits of cocoa due the added fat and sugar which increases the calorie content of chocolate. These antioxidant compounds found in cocoa also help release serotonin in the brain, making it useful in elevating mood. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works in the brain to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, arousal and pain.
Chocolate does make you happy! Chocolate is also known to have caffeine. Caffeine of 300 milligrams or less per day is safe and beneficial. Chocolate may contain anywhere from 20- 80mg of caffeine depending on % cocoa, the higher it is the more caffeine it’ll have. So, enjoy chocolate this valentine’s but remember to buy 70 percent cocoa and above for your loved ones.
Benefits of chocolate/Cocoa:
- including lower blood pressure /risk of heart disease
- improving blood flow to heart/brain
- lower “bad” LDL cholesterol
Dark chocolate S’MORES: Gather around the fire place and make some tasty dark chocolate S’mores
- 2 medium Fat free marshmallow
- 2 square graham cracker
- 1 square Lindt Excellence 70% intense dark
|1.||Heat the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown and melt.|
|2.||Sandwich the chocolate between the two crackers and the hot marshmallow. Allow the marshmallow to cool a moment before eating|
165 calories, 5.4 gm fat, 2gm pro, 25.8gm carbohydrates
By: Sabine Saoud RD, CDN
“Training in Weight Management Certificate”