Yes, we are about to label chocolate a health food — sort of. Cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate, contains compounds called cocoa flavanols, a type of plant nutrient. Research has linked these cocoa flavanols to improved thinking skills and memory, as well as reduced blood pressure and improved insulin resistance.
The bad news? The study subjects consumed very high doses of flavanols, whereas the amount found in commercial chocolate is much lower. In fact, flavanols are often destroyed in the production of chocolate.
Pure cocoa powder that has not been “Dutch-processed” is the best source of flavanols, but it will taste bitter, not like a Hershey’s bar. Try it in your coffee or sprinkled over fruit or yogurt. And if you want to eat actual chocolate, opt for dark varieties, which have more flavanols than milk chocolate.
Turn to the Baptist Health for You blog for tasty and nutritious recipes. If you live in the Kentuckiana area, attend a healthy cooking demonstration at Baptist Health Floyd’s Paris Health Education Center on Tuesday, Aug. 14, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Call 1.800.4.SOURCE to register.