It has been 467 years since Chocolate has made its appearance in Europe and has been part of our lives ever since. In the beginning, Chocolate was very rare as the cultivation of the beans was restricted and therefore had a higher value than gold. Fortunately, now we live in an era where Chocolate is commonly available for everyone to enjoy. In fact, we enjoy it so much that over $75 billion is spent on chocolate worldwide each year. Yes, BILLION!!!
Pure cocoa is considered a superfood, as it contains many valuable antioxidants. These phytochemicals help to lower the amount of oxidative stress and damage within the body, especially the arteries. The rule of thumb is: The higher the percentage of dark chocolate, the higher amount of antioxidants.
Flavanols are the main types of antioxidants in dark chocolate and have been proven to have positive effects on heart health. Regular consumption helps to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and prevent blood clot formation by making blood platelets less sticky. In addition, Flavanols help to improve brain function by improving blood flow to the brain, specifically to the gray matter.
Cocoa butter, another component of dark chocolate, contains valuable plant-based amino acids, making dark chocolate a good source of heart-healthy fats, helping to keep cholesterol in check.
Do you find yourself being low on energy and craving sugar? Dark chocolate consumption helps to decrease fasting blood sugar levels which will help you to keep these cravings under control. Lower fasting blood sugar levels are especilly beneficial for people with diabetes
Unfortunately, most of the chocolate we consume these days is the processed, sweetened milk chocolate, or even worse, white chocolate, which is technically not chocolate at all, as it contains Zero percentage of cocoa. The health benefits of these products are very very very low and instead, they are packed with added sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers and colorings to produce sweet, creamy and soft texture.
Have yourself a portion of Heart-Healthy dark chocolate as a part of your snack today.
Or even better, try these super easy, Heart-Healthy Brownies, with a twist:
What you will need:
- 2 medium, very ripe Avocados
- 2 large eggs
- 1 bar of 70-80% dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (optional – adds extra chewy texture)
- 1/2 cup finely blended oats
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- + optional: add 1/4 tsp of chili flakes for a little kick
- + optional: dark chocolate covered almonds for topping
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 F)
- Blend Avocado, Applesauce, Maple Syrup and Vanilla
- Transport into a large bowl and whisk in the Eggs
- In a separate bowl, mix together finely blended Oats, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Chilli Flakes
- Mix wet and dry ingredients
- Add chopped Dark Chocolate chunks
- Grease 8×8 inch baking dish ith coconut oil and powder with Cocoa Powder
- Transfer the batter into the baking dish
- Bake for 25 minutes
- Allow to cool COMPLETELY before tasting (the waiting is the hardest part!!!)
Try these brownies out!! And let us know how they turned out! I bet they will become your new favorite guilt-free treat!