Dark Chocolate Treats!

Not too many people can say they don’t like a chocolate treat from time to time.  I know I enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.  I usually break off a square from a top quality organic dark chocolate bar in the afternoon slump and enjoy it with my afternoon green tea.  I almost always have a good chocolate bar at the ready in my refrigerator all the time.  I savor the chocolate, allowing it to melt on my tongue.  It last longer that way, then just chomping on it and swallowing.  Let it linger.  Yum!

Well, it’s okay to be a bit of a chocoholic…as long as you pick the right chocolate.  I’m not talking about the many chocolate candy bars that line the conventional candy aisle at the grocery store.  I’m talking about pure, dark, antioxidant loaded healthy chocolate.  The real stuff.

The real stuff is referred to as a “superfood”.  Cacao is the real stuff.  Cacao beans are grown on trees and that is where your chocolate comes from.

Good dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which are the same flavonoids found in red wine and several fruits and vegetables.  Good chocolate ranks very high on the ORAC foods list containing these powerful antioxidants.  For example a piece of 70% dark cocoa contains high amounts of iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

After you indulge in a piece of dark chocolate it causes the release of endorphins which calm and reduce anxiety.  You are getting a blast of magnesium.   Good quality, dark Chocolate consumption is showing evidence of helping keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check.  Dark chocolate has shown it’s protective qualities against LDL cholesterol resulting in less heart disease.

There is much evidence that cacao, or dark chocolate has many health benefits in moderation.  A small piece a day isn’t going to hurt.  In fact it will boost your health.  But don’t step over the line of overconsumption.  Chocolate is still high in calories and is sweet.

When buying your next chocolate fix be sure you are buying dark, top quality organic chocolate from a health food store or the “whole” foods section of your grocery store.  Enjoy a square or two from time to time.

Here’s a recipe for a frozen chocolate treat that will satisfy both adults and children and carries lot’s of nutrition and fiber.

FROZEN CHOCOLATE BANANAS

4 ripe and firm bananas

12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, or shredded coconut

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the bananas in half and insert a popsicle stick into each half lengthwise.  Put them on the cookie sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.

Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a double boiler on the stovetop or in a glass Pyrex in the microwave.  Stir until smooth and fully melted.

Take bananas from freezer and roll in melted chocolate and sprinkle with the chopped nuts or shredded coconut.

Put back on cookie sheet and freeze.  Store in an airtight container.  They are so good they won’t last long in your freezer.  This is a very healthy and nutritious snack.  You will think you are “cheating” but not so.  You are getting a good load of good chocolate with the benefits of the banana too.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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