In honor of Mother’s Day, and the fact that almost all Moms that I know, deeply love
chocolate and will want to reap the full benefits of indulging in this addition given
all of the facts. We want to share one of our favorite recipes called Chocolate Divine
from Volume seven of The Gathering of friends.
Many of us are indulging in sweet treats everyday, so to make myself ( and you ) feel a
little bit better, I thought I’d write about the health benefits of chocolate…Yes!
There is something to this incredible need for chocolate. Here are some very
important and interesting facts about chocolate…and one fabulous
recipe that you are sure to love! So get ready to feel good about
INDULGING in your ADDITION!
Dark chocolate is especially beneficial. In fact, many experts recommend eating one
or two ounces of dark chocolate every day.
The more the chocolate is processed, the fewer health benefits remain in the finished
product. This is why raw cacao products have become so popular. However, many
health benefits remain in non-raw dark chocolate, provided there aren’t too many
added unhealthful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
High in Antioxidants
Cocoa contains flavanols, a type of flavanoid that is only found in cocoa and
chocolate. Flavanoids are naturally-occurring compounds that occur in plant
foods that act as antioxidants and help counteract free radicals in the body.
Blood Pressure Benefits
Dark chocolate has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure in people with
elevated blood pressure.
Lower LDL Cholesterol
Eating dark chocolate on a regular basis has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol
by as much as 10 percent.
Chocolate contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Chocolate also stimulates
endorphin production, which creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. In fact, one
study found that melting chocolate in the mouth produced feelings of pleasure longer
than passionate kissing. This may explain why many people naturally reach for chocolate
when they’re depressed.
Several studies have found chocolate to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods along
with foods like red wine, blueberries, garlic, and tea. Two ways that chocolate works
as a cancer fighter is by inhibiting cell division and reducing inflammation, though
research is ongoing and will probably find additional
ways in which chocolate fights cancer.
Prevents Tooth Decay
Research has found that the theobromine in chocolate prevents tooth decay by
eliminating streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity that
contributes to tooth decay.
Longer Life and Less Disease
One Dutch study followed 200 men over 20 years and found that those who consumed
large amounts of chocolate, both milk chocolate and dark, lived longer and had lower
overall disease rates than men who ate little or no chocolate.
A Harvard Study
In the Kuna tribe of Panama a important Harvard study resulted in similar findings.
The Kuna consumed large amounts of raw cacao every day and the study found
them to have lower overall disease rates and longer life expectancy than neighboring
tribes who did not consume as much raw cacao.
To further strengthen the case for dark chocolate as a life extender, the world’s
longest-lived person, Jeanne Louise Calment, lived to the age of 122 and
many ascribed her longevity in part to her consumption of 2.5 pounds of dark chocolate a week.
High in Magnesium
Cacao is higher in magnesium than any other plant.
Magnesium is an important mineral that helps in the regulation of the digestive,
neurological, and cardiovascular systems. Since many people are magnesium
deficient, adding magnesium-rich dark chocolate to the diet can improve overall health.
Studies have shown that the antioxidants in cacao work like brooms in sweeping
plaque out of the arteries.
Many studies have shown that dark chocolate is good for the brain. Researchers
at Johns Hopkins University found that it can protect the brain after a stroke by
shielding the nerve cells from further damage. Dark chocolate has also been found
to improve memory. Researchers at California’s Salk Institute found that a
chemical in chocolate called epicatechin improved the memory of mice.
So, this Mother’s Day, while others might be indulging on unhealthy sweets,
grab yourself a bar of dark chocolate and give your body and brain
a boost. If you make it a regular habit, you might just extend your
life and be able to enjoy that longer life with less disease than
your non-chocolate-eating friends.
Chocolate Divine from Volume Seven “Entertaining with Simplicity”
Purchase a hardcover book today for yourself or a friend. Or, choose
from our seven volume series, an easy to download eBook and enjoy over
1,200 beautifully photographed recipes on your handheld device or
smart phone with a simple checkout process. Or choose from
one of our custom designed eCards and send to one, or hundreds
at the same time, in one easy checkout. Select the perfect
eCard eBook GIFT for that someone special today!
Butter Chocolate Crust:
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. flour
Cream Cheese Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°. In a mixing bowl, gently mix softened butter, sugar, cocoa
powder, vanilla and flour together. Prepare a fluted 9-inch tart pan with cooking
spray. Spoon crust mixture into the pan; press evenly on the bottom and up the sides.
In a glass mixing bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave for 12 seconds. Add sugar,
egg and vanilla; beat with electric mixer until smooth. Pour over Chocolate Crust and
bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Chill.
Chocolate Fudge Topping:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
12 oz. semisweet dark chocolate chips
½ c. frozen whipped topping, garnish
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and fold in chocolate chips
and stir until smooth. Let cool in the refrigerator for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Remove cheesecake from pan and place on serving plate or cake stand. Pour fudge topping
over cooled cheesecake and garnish with frozen whipped topping (as pictured). Serve.