Also known as: Cocoa
Likes: Nuts, dessert
Hobbies: Sweetening up the menu
Find her: Drizzled over fruit, whipped and frozen into yogurt, simmered into savory sweet sauces
She is smooth and rich with a decadent flavor that calls to mind extravagant desserts and simple treats. We go to her for classic desserts and sweet sauces, and occasionally, we rely on her for a boost when we’re feeling a bit low. She is Dark Chocolate, sweet and beloved Dark Chocolate, and she is proving that she deserves a place in your healthy diet.
Dark Chocolate has for some time been cast aside as just “candy” or “a sweet” with no nutritional value. She has been thought of as a source of magical healing, palatable pleasure, sometimes pure guilt and especially a food with no hint of nutritional value, but she is now enjoying being back in the spotlight, thanks to her rapidly growing list of health benefits. While some of the benefits are still being studied and yet to be proven, she is steadily growing in esteem and popularity as more and more positive health benefits are coming to light. Here are a few of her very favorites:
- Dark Chocolate can improve mood, thanks to her ability to boost your endorphins. Finish off your meal with a small piece of chocolate, like those offered at Olive Garden. The small serving size allows you to enjoy the treat without adding too many extra calories to your meal.
- Thanks to powerful antioxidants, Dark Chocolate may help reduce your blood pressure, as well as your risk of heart attack and stroke. Look for chocolate with 70% cocoa whenever possible, which has been shown to have higher levels of antioxidants. If you are in Arkansas, you can get your chocolate fix by ordering up a Healthy Dining-approved Choco-Berry at Pitza 42 (220 calories, 4.5 g fat).
- The improved blood flow to which Dark Chocolate can lay claim, along with her high level of antioxidants, is now being said to help with brain function.
Dark chocolate is always ready to sweeten up your meals and can easily boost your healthy diet when savored in small servings.