Nutritious Chocolate:- Everyone knows chocolate is delicious but not everyone knows that chocolate can also be healthy. The benefits of dark, unprocessed cocoa are well-documented. In fact, some research has found that regular doses of cocoa may help protect against heart disease, stroke and even reduce the risk of dying from any cause. Cocoa contains flavonoids which are natural antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains a type of fiber called oligogeranendins — the more bitter tasting beta-caryein which is believed to be responsible for many of cocoa’s health benefits. The main challenge is making sure you get your cocoa from wholesome sources and not sugary syrups or cheap fillers masquerading as cocoa powder or drinking mixes.
1) Nutritious Chocolate:-Drink Your Cocoa
You might not expect a warm beverage to be a source of many of cocoa’s most beneficial nutrients but this is actually true. The flavonoids in cocoa are very sensitive to heat so you’ll lose most of them if you bake or cook with cocoa in any way. On the positive side, studies show that cocoa consumed as a beverage is more effective than cocoa eaten as a solid food in increasing blood levels of flavonoids and their metabolites. So drink up with hot cocoa made with real cocoa powder – no sugar added and milk, water or milk alternative.
2) Nutritious Chocolate:-Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is a great source of flavonoids. At this cocoa level, moderation is key. Studies show that the positive benefits of cocoa are due to consuming between 100 and 500 mg of flavonoids per day. Eating up to 100 g of dark chocolate per day can be quite beneficial, but after that point it may cause harm to your health. To maximize the health benefits of eating chocolate and minimize calories, choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and a low sugar content, as well as a low fat content.
3) Nutritious Chocolate:-Add Dried Cocoa to Smoothies and Shakes
You can add cocoa powder to almost any smoothie or shake. Add a tablespoon of cocoa to any shake or smoothie for a great boost of antioxidants. If you drink a lot of shakes or smoothies, adding a spoonful of cocoa powder every now and then is a great way to incorporate cocoa into your diet. You can even add cocoa to homemade protein shakes. Just add a spoonful (around a tablespoon) of cocoa powder to your protein shake. You can add cocoa to just about any kind of smoothie or protein shake without affecting the taste.
4) Nutritious Chocolate:-Add Nibs to Breaksfast Bowls
Cocoa nibs are roasted cocoa beans with the skin removed. They are a tasty addition to breakfast bowls and make a great topping for granola. Cocoa nibs are a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants. Cocoa nibs can also be used to make a hot beverage, much like cocoa powder. Add them to hot water or milk for a tasty and nutritious drink. Cocoa nibs are also used in some recipes for baked goods, like cookies or cakes. You can also add cocoa nibs to yogurt or oatmeal.
5) Nutritious Chocolate:-Add Dark Chocolate to Breakfast Bowls
A quarter cup of finely chopped dark chocolate stirred into a bowl of oatmeal is a delicious way to start the day. You can also add dark chocolate to other hot breakfast cereals like muesli or granola. If you prefer cold breakfasts, you can fold chopped dark chocolate into yogurt or use it to top sliced fresh fruits such as banana, strawberries or figs. You can even fold chopped chocolate into a packet of instant oats.
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Chocolate is a delicious indulgence many people enjoy from time to time. While you can enjoy some chocolate, be sure to choose the healthier varieties where possible. Be mindful of portion sizes, as well as the added sugar content of your favourite chocolate varieties. Remember that cocoa is a healthy source of antioxidants and fibre, so go ahead and indulge in your favourite cocoa-based treats! Now that you know how cocoa can be healthy, you can enjoy it whenever you want.
However, there are some steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t become unhealthy. First, try to choose dark chocolate varieties over milk chocolate. You should also try to avoid adding excessive amounts of sugar to your cocoa. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your cocoa without worrying about how it might affect your health.