To CHOCOLATE or not?


chocolate_cacao_beans.jpgListen-up chocolate fans!  A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that people who ate chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than those who ate it less often. Although the study’s authors caution, because of various factors, that their study does not suggest that eating more chocolate helps you lose weight, the study does draw attention to the possible health benefits of chocolate.
Should you indulge in chocolate? Just like any other “treat,” the answer is both yes and no and is also about quality and quantity.

Chocolate has long been known to help with certain health conditions such as fatigue, anemia, depression, high blood pressure and vision.  Get this, a 2011 Swedish study found “women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.”  Amazing, but does this give us permission to dive right into a big box of Whitman’s? Not just yet.

Remember, responsibly treat yourself.  Chocolate comes from the cacao (pronounced kah-kow) bean.  Cacao is packed with antioxidants, fiber and is one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium.  However, when cacao becomes heavily processed, such as in milk chocolate or candy bars, the health benefits decrease. Instead of mass-produced, low grade chocolate, look for ways to add-in pure cacao or high quality dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher - higher is better) for a health-promoting delicacy.

Try this deliciously healthy chocolate recipe.  Invite some friends to join in for a chocolate (cacao) party and feel healthy together!

How do you add-in healthy foods?  Stay tuned for information about our upcoming NOURISH challenge!

Chef Karolina’s Raw Chocolate Truffles
Prep time:  20 minutes
Makes 25 truffles

•    1 cup raw cacao powder
•    1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
•    1/2 cup maple syrup
•    Water (to mix)
•    Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love.

•    Mix cashews in a food processor until it forms a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste. 
•    Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
•    Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
•    Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
•    Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough. Coat balls in your chosen roll-in ingredients!

Institute for Integrative Nutrition  www.integrativenutrition.com