Give Chocolate a Break
Okay, so you made it thru the holiday season; maybe a bit more stuffed, and you might even find yourself peering at all those wonderful chocolates and confections that emerged during this time. Oh, what to do? Go ahead – enjoy yourself. There’s lots to celebrate; the good news is that chocolate is really good for you. Now, take to heart before you read further, everything in life is about moderation and common sense. We’ve got some great information here for you, and a wonderful recipe sure to please – after all, who doesn’t love chocolate?
So here’s the deal about chocolate – first of all, it’s actually been reported to boost your immune system. Yep, that little cacao bean (the source from which chocolate is derived) is full of antioxidants which play a key role in supporting a healthy system. The truth is, the deeper the color chocolate, the more antioxidants. So go for that dark chocolate, as the lighter milk chocolate doesn’t offer the same benefits. A good tip here: any recipe that you may have for milk chocolate, go and switch to a more robust flavor by substituting for the darker chocolate. Milk chocolate is diluted, and thus negates many of the healthful benefits.
Reports have shown that chocolate can lower blood pressure, because flavonoids are found in dark chocolate and appear to have some benefits to improve LDL cholesterol levels. Of course to compare, red wine has flavonoids as well, so a little is good for you. Same holds true for chocolate – a little is better than a lot. Again, a little common sense about the quantity of consumption. Chocolate provides a good dose of magnesium, which plays an important role for digestive, neurological and cardiovascular systems, not to mention that magnesium is part of the metabolic process which moves food into energy.
Lastly, that scrumptious piece of chocolate boosts your mood as it immediately tells you -‘ahhhh, that’s soooo good’. That’s because chocolate contains serotonin, which is nature’s antidepressant. The brain is stimulated by the endorphins emitted from this natural chemical reaction, and it lets you feel good. Bottom line, there’s nothing wrong in having some chocolate. Just remember, don’t substitute your well-rounded meals with a candy bar, or your daily intake of fruits and vegetables with a daily chocolate fondue- use your common sense, but go and enjoy! With that in mind, we’ve provided you here with a healthy and yummy recipe sure to please everyone, if you so dare to share.
Chocolate pudding (makes 2 cups – serves 4 alone or use it as a topper with whipped cream on cookies)
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. cacao powder
2 Tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup
3 Tbsp. whole milk or cream (or coconut milk)
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Serve in individual cups topped with whipped cream and berries or serve on top of meringues or other cookies.