Five Ways Dark Chocolate Boosts Seniors HealthChocolate lovers take note – next time a chocolate craving overcomes you, give in, and grab a piece of dark chocolate. Research has shown moderate amounts of dark chocolate is good for you as dark chocolate is bursting with numerous health benefits that will help you live longer and healthier.
I met Mitchell Hewson, Canada’s first registered horticultural therapist, recently at the Palisade Gardens Retirement Living Community in Cobourg where he was giving a presentation on the healing effects of gardening, herbal tea and chocolate! From his talk I not only learned delicious recipes, which are included below, but I gained a strong appreciation of dark chocolate’s healing characteristics, from reducing cardiovascular disease to improving brain function.
Here are five ways chocolate can boost your health:
- Top tier in antioxidants – Antioxidants have taken the health world by storm and are linked to reducing cancer and heart disease. Ounce for ounce, dark chocolate has more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea and red wine.
- Open your heart to chocolate – Recent research shows chocolate prevents plaque build-up and relaxes arteries which lowers blood pressure and leads to proper blood flow. It also contains magnesium and potassium which are linked to lowering the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases.
- Insulin’s best friend – Positive news for those at risk for diabetes, dark chocolate decreases insulin resistance, which allows the body to use insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate is also low on the glycemic index meaning it does not lead to unstable sugar spikes and crashes.
- Bite of bliss – Dark chocolate contains various ingredients which naturally elevate moods and help fight depression. Most notably dark chocolate contains high amounts of theobromine which is a natural stimulant and is commonly used as a cough suppressant. Another feel-good compound is phenylethylamine which releases endorphins in the brain and is the same compound released when one falls in love.
- Brain booster – Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain which improves performance, alertness and can lessen the probability of brain damage caused by stroke. As well, various properties of dark chocolate reduce the brain’s decline and eases stress.
Now that your mouth must be watering, below are two healthy and easy-to-make dark chocolate recipes Hewson created during his visit at the Palisade Gardens.
Mocha Coconut Clusters
|1 lb. dark chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons instant coffee powder
4 cups dry unsweetened coconut
|Method: Melt chocolate in double boiler, stirring constantly, add butter. Remove from heat and add instant coffee, stir until dissolved. Stir in coconut; place heaping teaspoonfuls of mixture onto a lined cookie sheet. When cool, serve the clusters in paper candy cups.
Cook’s tip: If you wish to toast the coconut, heat gently in a dry skillet stirring constantly until golden brown.
|1 lb. dark chocolate
1 lb. mixed salted nuts
small candy cups
|Method: Melt chocolate in double boiler, stirring constantly. Drop in the mixed nuts, stirring until all the nuts are coated with chocolate. Spoon into small candy cups and let cool for 15 minutes. These chocolates are suitable for freezing.
by Bria Weaver
What is your favourite chocolate recipe? Share it with others by posting a comment below!