Fellow choco-holics, today is our day. Though other days may masquerade as a Chocolate Day of some sort, today, July 7, is in fact Chocolate Day. Whether your preference is dark, milk or something in between, I think we can all appreciate a day dedicated to this delicious, and healthy (when eaten in moderation) treat.
We don’t need to remind you about the benefits of enjoying a few bites of chocolate, especially dark chocolate which is full of antioxidants. It’s not just the finished product that’s good for you either. Raw cacao, the beans from which chocolate is made, is one of the best kept nutrition secrets.
If you’re looking to satisfy a chocolate craving on this holiday, or really any day, we’ve got the perfect line-up of recipes that will allow you to enjoy the chocolaty goodness without feeling like you’ve completely overindulged.
S’more Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
S’mores are good, cupcakes are good, and both are made even better when combined into one finger-licking delicious treat! Topped with a simple chocolate cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.
Double Chocolate Peppermint Donuts (more…)
Chocolate – even a small amount is the perfect cure for a bad day, the best dessert, and a great gift. In addition to being one of our favorite indulgences, it doesn’t hurt that dark chocolate is also good for you.
We’ve known dark chocolate is good for the heart for some time, but we haven’t known exactly why. Now two studies have revealed for the first time, what exactly is so great about dark chocolate when it comes to our health.
I’ve definitely got a bone to pick with whoever decided to trade off more daylight hours for one less hour of sleep. Though spring and summer are my favorite seasons, and that lost hour means they’re on the way, I still find myself dragging when Daylight Saving Time rolls around.
The annual spring forward officially happens at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, which means most of us will be changing our clocks Saturday night before we go to bed, knowing we’ll be getting one less hour of sleep.
It’s February, that special time of year where everything is colored red and love is in the air. Valentine’s Day makes us all focus on our hearts a bit more, but instead of buying another bag of heart-shaped candies why not focus on your literal heart and the ways you can improve your heart health and the heart health of those around you?
Here are five ways to be good your heart and to the hearts of those you love.
1. Serve a heart healthy dinner
Calling all chocolate lovers! We have the perfect Valentine’s dessert for you and it just so happens to be healthy, decadent and loaded with antioxidants. Finally, a Valentine treat we can actually feel good about.
Inspired by our editor, I created this beautiful bark last week in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Just because we operate a health and diet website doesn’t mean we don’t crave chocolate once in a while (or every day).
The entire time I was prepping the ingredients I couldn’t wait to take a sample bite of the finished product. The luscious dark chocolate, the salty pistachios and the sweet, crisp pomegranates were sure to be a stellar flavor combination. Sure enough, my suspicions were right. (more…)
Did you know there’s a whole, real, science behind pairing food flavors? It’s true. There is a “Foodpairing Method.” Due to this method, seemingly odd pairs can combine to make a wonderful dish. When you were putting chips into your PB & J as a child, maybe you were actually conducting a science experiment.
The goal of the Foodpairing Method is to chart all possible food pairings. This helps restaurants and chefs create one-of-a-kind dishes. The process involves taking each ingredient’s volatile compounds, or the aromas, and getting them to a highly concentrated state. The concentrations are then matched with other similar compounds. When flavors are taken to that level, seemingly odd combinations can become compatible.
One of the latest “scientifically proven” combinations is Parmesan cheese and dark chocolate. Testers put the two ingredients into a grilled cheese sandwich to prove their theory. The salty and savory flavor of the Parmesan, bold in taste and low in calories, paired wonderfully with the deep flavor of dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao for heart healthy benefits. Testers even noted that the chocolate brought out fruity, tart notes from the cheese. (more…)
By Karen Sherwood for NutritiousAmerica.com
In these last few days of October we rush around in search of the perfect costume, the most awesome carving pumpkin, and candy for the trick-or-treaters. And even before we have opened that first piece of Halloween loot we are bombarded with Christmas commercials, displays, and reminders that the rest of the holiday season is literally around the corner. Tis’ the season to have less and less time and a greater need for quick grab-and-go treats, sustenance to get you through.
There are so many options when it comes to grab-and-go snacks the grocery store isles are literally overflowing with them. Snacks claiming to be healthy, claiming to have a host of health supportive properties, but do they? Our Nutritious America detectives recently skimmed the grocery isles in search of questionable on-the-go healthy snacks. Here are a few of the most popular culprits complete with our always unbiased opinions! (more…)
Michael Gonzalez-Wallace is the author of Super Body, Super Brain. You can read more from him at www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.
Who doesn’t want to get smarter? Who wants to look better or be healthier? Many recent studies have shown how specific nutrients have positive effects on the brain especially in those areas of the brain related to cognitive processing or feelings and emotions. Generally speaking, you want to follow a healthy diet for your brain that will lead to good blood flow, help maintain mental sharpness and reduce the risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
We know how foods play a great role in our brain. This is the conclusion of several studies led by a phenomenal neuroscientist at UCLA, Gomez Pinilla.
According to one study, the super fats your brain needs most are Omega 3 fatty acids. Your brain converts them into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and promotes neuronal growth.
Cultural reverance for chocolate has existed for centuries. Over the years, chocolate has been associated with decadence, luxury and relaxation. Cacao beans, which chocolate is made from, were so valuable that the Aztecs used them as a type of currency. Many Mesoamerican cultures considered chocolate to be magical and divine. The Smithsonian states that some historians believe that “evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia.” Although it was known in many cultures as an exotic treat for the elite, there’s a much more biological reason why humans crave chocolate. Chocolate triggers a series of chemical responses when it is eaten. There are numerous health benefits of chocolate including:
- Reduced risk of stroke and heart attack
- Improved blood flow to the brain which results in higher concentration, mental clarity and memory function
- Increased production of serotonin and endorphins, which are hormones that regulate mood, sleep and other mental faculties
- Antioxidant support
Joy Bauer is a registered dietitian and the nutrition expert for the Today Show. She’s also the best-selling author behind several health books including Your Inner Skinny. You can visit her at JoyBauer.com, or follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.
Few nutrition research findings have brought me more pleasure than the discovery that chocolate can actually be good for you! We now have a large body of research showing that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduce clotting, and benefit overall heart health. But before you dive head-first into the nearest heart-shaped box of candy this Valentine’s Day, here’s what you need to know about choosing chocolates with the most health power.
Chocolate owes its health benefits to a category of antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids and other beneficial phytochemicals are found in cocoa solids, and dark chocolate contains a higher proportion of cocoa solids than milk chocolate, making it the more heart-healthy choice. That’s because milk chocolate contains more added milk and sugar, which dilutes the cocoa content. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids, only cocoa butter, which means it’s not officially chocolate and doesn’t deliver any health-promoting flavonoids. (more…)