The count down to Valentine’s Day is on and if you love yourself or someone else, get some chocolate! No need to feel guilty because chocolate is plant based and medicinal…please not with bacon people, that would obviously counter the health effects.
Why eat Chocolate? First of all because it tastes good! Secondly, it’s good for our hearts, brains, skin and sexy time! Flavanols are what make chocolate powerful, but not all chocolate is the same. Most of the chocolate eaten in the US is loaded with added sugar and fat. The potent antioxidant, flavanol, is higher in dark chocolate than milk chocolate so go for 70% dark chocolate whether you eat it straight up or as an ingredient in a recipe. Yes it is bitter straight up, but your tastebuds will get used to it especially in this recipe I titled Pam’s Perfect Pillow Talk for Potency
In a blender, pulse and blend together the following 6 ingredients:
18 pitted dates
1/2c walnuts or other nuts
1/2c pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/4c 70%dark cocoa powder
1/4c almond butter or other nut butter
1.5T chia seeds or hemp seeds
With clean, wet hands spread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Melt 1.25c 70% dark chocolate chips on top of stove or in microwave and spread on top of the date mixture…chill in fridge or freezer for 20 minutes or more…break up into small pieces and enjoy once per day before, during or after sexy time.
Speaking of recipes, you can substitute 70% dark cocoa powder or dark chips in any of your old favorites. Why alter your usual recipes you ask? Nutrition is a young science and some of Ma’s recipes will taste just as good without the added sugar and fat…no offense Mom.
Recently in my office, I was asked by the loving matriarch of the family(the smart one), to advise her in helping lower the bad LDL levels for her husband and daughter (neither were overweight). Answer: Decrease FAT, especially saturated fat and that means less or no red meat and dairy but dark chocolate can stay!
According to clinical studies, the amount of chocolate necessary to decrease LDL’s (bad cholesterol) is about 1.5oz of 70% dark chocolate 5X per week. Although, says Karin Ried, PhD, a research fellow at the University of Adelaide in Australia and a chocolate researcher, “Dosage doesn’t seem to play a key role. Regular consumption of low amounts of cocoa or chocolate can be beneficial for heart health.”
Dark chocolate and it’s powerful antioxidants increase levels of nitric oxide keeping arteries flexible and increasing blood flow. You know what that means…
We do need to address one more thing. Chocolate can taste so good that you may not be able to stop eating it and let’s face it…calories do matter. Do you have room for chocolate in your daily diet? YES, you do! Just take something out that has little to no value, like processed snack foods and substitute some dark chocolate. Now you know why to leave room for dark chocolate.
A small amount of dark chocolate on ‘the regular’ will keep the pipes flexible enough to circulate the good stuff around and pump the bad stuff out, especially when you add a little activity!
To my beach buddies, summer is coming and now’s the time to get in the habit of using dark chocolate to protect your skin even if you’re not interested in hanky panky anymore.