Loving Chocolate This Valentine’s Day! – the latest scoop on cocoa!

ChocoPeru3By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Though we don’t encourage showing your love through food, we thought you would love to know the benefits of eating chocolate since we all know chocolate is the official food of Valentine’s Day! That’s right, chocolate has been shown to have numerous health benefits when eaten in moderation.

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1. A study performed in Sweden found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate weekly had a decreased risk of stroke when compared to women who ate less chocolate.

2. A study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association found that eating small amounts of “polyphenol-rich chocolate as part of a usual diet efficiently reduced blood pressure in healthy individuals”.

3. Eating chocolate can be beneficial to your skin? Dark chocolate, that is. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary flavanols from cocoa contribute to “endogenous photoprotection, improve the blood circulation and improve hydratation” of the skin.

4. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that cocoa can have both anti-clotting and blood-thinning properties. These properties were found to closely resemble the effect of aspirin.

5. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the fat in chocolate is composed of cocoa butter and contains about 1/3 of oleic acid; a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil.

 

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Did you know, the average piece of dark chocolate contains almost double the amount of healthy monounsaturated fats than its milk chocolate counterpart? Dark chocolate contains less sugar (the average bar has about half the amount of sugar than milk chocolate) and roughly 4 times the amount of fiber than milk chocolate. For more information on the comparison of dark and milk chocolates click here for Prevention Magazine’s infographic.

 

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  • Endangered Species Chocolate – this brand of chocolate has a wide variety of options from plain dark chocolate to dark chocolate with cherries. According to the company’s website the bars are made with ethically traded cacao and they donate 10% of their profits to conservation efforts.
  • Alter Eco Chocolate – with under 10 ingredients per chocolate bar, this chocolate brand uses sustainable practices and are certified organic. They also have a chocolate bar with quinoa inside.

 

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Red Velvet cake actually has chocolate in it. In fact, unsweetened cocoa powder is one of the main ingredients. It is believed that the original red velvet cake got it’s red coloring from a chemical reaction caused by the cocoa powder and the acidity of the buttermilk. According to Chenected, a chemical engineering website, the anthocyanins found in natural cocoa powder create a reddish hue when they come into contact with acid.

 

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Pictures in this blog post were taken at ChocoMuseo in Lima, Peru. More information can be found here.

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