This is a guest post about chocolate…
Is chocolate good for you?
Despite it’s reputation for being an indulgent treat, in fact chocolate has a huge range of positive health benefits. Neurologists have long vouched for its feel good properties, but now scientists have linked dark cocoa to a reduced risk of heart disease and even cancer.
But before you rush down to your local newsagent to stock up on bars, it is important to note that the best way to optimise the positive health benefits of chocolate is to pick a brand with a high percentage of cocoa and enjoy it in moderation.
The hidden health benefits of chocolate
Researchers have discovered that the substances found in cocoa are linked to a decreased risk of stroke, deep vein thrombosis and certain types of cancer. Because chocolate contains many valuable natural elements including polyphenols (which can help to prevent blood clotting) as well as compounds called antioxidants, dieticians are now touting chocolate as an important part of any meal plan.
How to get chocolate into a healthy diet
With Easter just around the corner it is a fair bet that many households will be enjoying chocolate this month. However, to ensure that you get chocolate in to your diet in a healthy way consider introducing it in to your cooking.
Even with just a small amount of chocolate you can make a variety of recipes that are both exciting and delicious. In fact, one of the easiest ways to get chocolate in to your meals is to reinvent your favourite dishes with a chocolately twist.
Sweet style recipes
For those of you with a serious sweet tooth, it can be fun to enjoy your favourite chocolate in different ways. For example, you could simply whip up some delicious pancakes and sprinkle with some antioxidant rich chocolate chips. You could also use a combination of bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate to make chocolate brownies with half the usual amount of sugar.
You could even make some sweet treats for the whole family by knocking up a batch of dark chocolate and pistachio truffles. Simply mix butter, cream, chopped skinned pistachios and bittersweet chocolate together and refrigerate.
Savoury style recipes
As it is also possible to make some remarkable savoury main course meals using chocolate or cocoa powder, enjoy getting creative in the kitchen. Easy dishes to start with include sauces and marinades, chocolate chilli, cocoa rubbed baby back ribs and fruity chicken enchiladas.