Texarkana, TX 36° View Live Radar Thu H 52° L 34° Fri H 64° L 40° Sat H 65° L 45° Weather Sponsored By:

Good news for chocolate lovers

Good news for chocolate lovers

February 13th, 2018 by Carla Haley Hadley in Features

I will admit it, I am a chocoholic. Luckily for me, evidence suggests that modest consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa is associated with health benefits in the form of reduced cardiovascular disease risk. This is great news for us chocolate lovers. The bad news is, you cannot eat all you want. Positive health benefits need to be balanced with calories.

Scientists aren't sure why chocolate seems to boost heart health. It could be the flavonoids, a type of antioxidant produced by plants. Flavonoids are found in tea, red wine, blueberries, apples, pears, cherries and nuts.

Flavonoids are particularly abundant in cacao beans, the seeds of the cacao tree. Fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans yields cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate.

Research shows that flavonoids in cocoa help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots and fight cell damage. They also may help with cognitive thinking.

Chocolate is available in many types; however, they don't all carry the same health benefits. Some chocolates are healthier than others. As a rule, the more processed it is, the less health benefits it will have.

Your best bet is to stick with dark chocolate. Generally, it has more cocoa and therefore more flavonoids than milk chocolate. It also has less unhealthy sugar and saturated fat, something we all need to watch.

Dark chocolates seem to have the highest level of flavonoids, because they have gone through fewer processing steps. On the other hand, milk chocolate has been processed many times and therefore many of the flavonoids are missing.

Research shows that dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. Antioxidants are important in that they cause your blood vessels to dilate and help to increase circulation. This in turn increases the amount of blood that travels throughout your body.

This doesn't give you permission to consume all the dark chocolate you want. Regardless if it is dark or milk chocolate, there is still fat found in chocolate. The fat in dark chocolate has equal amounts of monounsaturated fat, the heart healthy fat, and saturated fat, the fat we want to avoid.

In fact, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 1 dark chocolate candy bar contains 5 grams total fat, 8 grams sugar, 85 milligrams potassium and 90 calories.

So for now, enjoy moderate portions of chocolate a few times per week, but don't forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods, such as apples, tea, onions and cranberries. Of course, moderation is key. We still should consume chocolate in small amounts and balance it with healthy foods.

This Chocolate Angel Food Cake from The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is light, easy to make and is low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and garnished with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for a healthy desert.

 

CHOCOLATE

ANGEL FOOD CAKE

1 box (14.5 ounce) angel food cake mix

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

1/4 tsp. chocolate flavoring

1 cup skim milk

1 4-serving box sugar-free instant chocolate pudding

8 ounces light whipped topping substitute

In a large bowl, combine flour packet of cake with the cocoa. Prepare cake according to package directions; fold in chocolate flavoring. Bake cake in a tube pan according to package directions. When cool, remove the pan. In a medium-sized bowl, blend milk and instant pudding with mixer for one to two minutes. Fold in whipped topping substitute. Spread on cooled cake before cutting. Garnish with fresh fruit if desired.

Yield: 12 servings

Nutritional Information: Serving size is 1/12 of cake. Calories 205, Protein 6g, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 1mg, Carbohydrate 40g, Sodium 202 mg, Fiber 1g

For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at chadley@uaex.edu, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.

Carla Haley Hadley is a county extension agent, family and consumer sciences, with the Miller County Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com