A Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
The rising benefits of indulging in dark chocolate, as well as few recipes on how to enhance the advantages.Women, and even men, have been praying since the big bang for the day that chocolate is good for you. Finally that day has arrived. After growing up with chocolate being associated with weight and cavities in your teeth, scientists have discovered there is actually a good side to this naughty beast.
No more shall we hide under the covers at midnight, nibbling away at truffles and milk chocolate. We can finally come out and say we indulge in this dark, creamy substance. Every woman knows that nothing takes the stress away better than biting into chocolate after a hard day of work. But now the world knows too. Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory has confirmed that dark chocolate reduces blood pressure.
According to the study, not only did the subjects'' blood pressure drop, but their bad cholesterol did as well. Unfortunately for those who prefer their chocolate on the lighter side, white chocolate didn''t have the same effect.
The secret to this decadent cuisine lies in the magic of the cocoa beans. But the magic doesn''t only stop with blood pressure. The cocoa bean''s antioxidant chemicals prevent both cell damage and inflammation.
Stand aside though, because there are more chocolate benefits to come. It would appear that fish isn''t the only brain food on the market. West Virginia''s Wheeling Jesuit University has evidence that suggests chocolate may boost memory, attention span and reaction time. It also may improve problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. But this isn''t too much of a surprise for some of us. We always knew women (and chocolate eating men) were smarter, but now we know why.
Before you dash out to invest in your health with a spending spree at the local Willy Wonka Factory, just remember that it''s the cocoa beans that possess the chocolate benefits, not the actual chocolate. So chocolate milk, for example, won''t have the magic ingredient to lower your blood pressure and improve your mind. You need to invest in the real deal, with good quantities of cocoa.
You might have to alter your recipe to justify your indulgence. Instead of scooping chocolate powder into your hot milk, heat the milk on the stove. Chop up a bar (or two) of pure dark chocolate and toss it into the milk. Stir the mixture as the chocolate melts into the milk. You can add sugar if you find the dark chocolate a bit bitter for your liking. This home made version of hot chocolate gives room for a bit of creativity by adding a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg or for a really hot experience, a pinch of chilli.
Instead of squeezing chocolate sauce all over your ice cream, rather make the sauce yourself. Melt dark chocolate in a bowl that is over a hot pan filled with water. The pot can be on the stove to keep the water boiling. By melting the chocolate this way, you prevent the chocolate from burning. Add a tablespoon or two of butter and a dash of either cream or milk. Mix it together until it becomes creamy, smooth and has that tremendous chocolate "gloop look" we fell in love with. If you do want to add a touch of the shop bar chocolate, then pour the homemade sauce over the ice cream and crumble a peppermint crisp on top.
The fact that the theory is finally proven does take away the guilt trip of eating a mars bar, which was, in a way, the whole fun of eating chocolate. But if this was your motivation for sneaking a slab in here and there, then don''t fear. There is still a whole wide range of puddings that we know are healthy but haven''t been proven yet, starting off with sticky toffee pudding.