Chocolate is pretty much an endangered species around Southshore Physical Therapy. Whenever it makes its glorious appearance at the clinic, you can’t help but notice the smile in the eyes of the staff members. Yes, it’s an indulgent and satisfying treat, but chocolate can actually also be a healthful (yes, you heard me correctly) addition to your daily diet and lifestyle.
“How can chocolate be healthy???” you ask.
“It all boils down to the flavanols,” say the experts.
A plant nutrient found in many antioxidant-rich foods, flavanols are especially prevalent in cacao beans … which means cocoa powder … which means chocolate!
Flavanols have been associated with a surprising number of health benefits. In addition to boosting your circulation and your mood, moderate consumption of chocolate (hint: moderate cannot be measured in pounds … or handfuls … or bagfuls!) can help decrease the risk of a growing number of health risks:
High blood pressure
Age-related cognitive dysfunction
Of course, like most things, the more processed the food, the lesser the benefit. So … look for pure, dark chocolate when your cravings strike!
Need another way to eat chocolate? How about this no-bake recipe?
2 cups raw oatmeal
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2/3 cups honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cocoa powder, unsweetened
Mix oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, honey, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a bowl and refrigerate overnight (or at least an hour if you’re impatient … like me). Remove bowl from refrigerator and roll mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. (Like a cherry tomato. Gross! Who wants to read about tomatoes in a recipe about chocolate?) Sprinkle equal parts brown sugar and cocoa powder on a plate and roll each ball onto it individually to coat evenly. Return to refrigerator and eat when you can’t stand waiting anymore.
“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”
― Jane Seabrook
by Michele Robert Poche