You know those games where you have to name three things you need to have on a desert island? One of my three would have to be dark chocolate! I don’t think I’m alone in this – many people feel the same way. There’s just something about it. Well, science is on our side because this amazing gift from heaven that we call chocolate has been found to be heart-healthy. Yep, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology says just that.
Turns out, dark chocolate is choc-full of antioxidants that help to boost mood, improve concentration, get blood flow going, and even reduce inflammation. The study says that a single serving of dark chocolate has more prodyanidins than Americans usually get in a day, and these help to block the uptake of bad cholesterol. More good news: The antioxidants in chocolate last longer than they do in other foods. We know green tea is healthy, but the antioxidants degrade with its shelf life. Chocolate bars remain potent for about 4 years, and cocoa beans and powder are good for 75 years.
The darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. Darker chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which is where the antioxidants are. However, if the chocolate is highly processed, some of the benefits lessen. Dark chocolate also has a lower sugar content, and fewer calories than milk or white chocolate, which are typically mixed with either powdered or condensed milk.
Of course, remember to eat any food, even chocolate, in moderation. Too much of anything is not good, especially when you factor in the calories, sugar, milk and fat added into commercial products. The study recommends a 1-ounce bite a few times per week. Remember that you can also get heart healthy flavonoids with other foods such as apples, tea, citrus fruit, onions and berries.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- 7 small sweet potatoes
- ¾ cup almond milk, or other vegan milk substitute
- 7 Tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of cardamom
- Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- raw cocoa nibs for garnish
Bake the sweet potatoes until soft, then cool and remove the skin.
Place the rest of the ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth.
Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
Serve in individual cups with a sprinkle of cocoa nibs over the top.