Like many people, you may enjoy treating yourself to chocolate. Luckily, dark chocolate can actually be beneficial for your health. The key is to choose chocolate wisely. For the greatest health advantage, select dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Flavonoids are also found in fruits and vegetables, so pair chocolate with berries for an extra benefit. Examples of other flavonoid-rich foods include apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries.
Although chocolate does contain ingredients that are beneficial to health, it is important to remember that it is often high in fat, sugar and calories. Be cautious about chocolate with added caramel or marshmallows that add extra calories. In addition, there is no established serving size of chocolate to provide a benefit, but a moderate 1 ounce portion a few times per week is a good guideline.
The bottom line is to remember that moderation is the key, and be sure to choose chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao.
Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon butter
1. Pour the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave bowl.
2. Microwave for 30 seconds.
3. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.
4. Place a piece of wax paper on a sheet pan.
5. Hold the strawberry by the stem and dip it in the dark chocolate, twisting slightly to let excess chocolate fall into the bowl.
6. Set the strawberry on wax paper.
7. When you have dipped all the strawberries, refrigerate for 1 ½ hours, or until solid.
Serving size: 1 chocolate covered strawberry
Calories: 82, Fat, 5 g, Protein: 1 g, Carbohydrate: 11 g, Sodium: 3 mg