Are there really health benefits of chocolate for women? What is it with women and chocolate? Many women feel intense cravings for rich dark chocolate on a regular basis. This could come monthly, weekly or the same time every day. After satisfying their hunger pangs, then comes the feeling of guilt for consuming the calories. It is possible to enjoy having chocolate in the diet and not feeling guilty about the additional calories.
Much research has been done by such well known organizations as the Cleveland Clinic and the American Medical Association on the health benefits of chocolate. Flavonolds, which are full of antioxidants, help shield plant based foods from the environment and helps to repair damage done to them. By consuming cocoa and chocolate, people benefit from these antioxidants also.
Many different studies have shown that chocolate helps with the blood flow to the brain and heart. It helps in controlling diabetes and can lower blood pressure. Other studies report that the health benefits of chocolate includes the raising of energy levels, improving mental ability, improving circulation and boosting the immune system. Most studies show no reaction to the bad cholesterol, but did raise the good cholesterol. Many of these findings are useful when looking at why women and chocolate are so closely connected.
This is not saying that anyone should indulge in consuming an abundance of chocolate without thought. It is only stating that one should not feel guilty enjoying a small piece of dark chocolate or a moderate portion of chocolate dessert. Although cocoa contains nutrients that are good for the body, there is a big difference in the chocolate. It is best to choose a dark chocolate with as little processing as possible and containing 75 to 85 percent of cocoa. Even this should not be freely consumed due to the added sugar and fat content in many of these products.
Steps can be taken to enjoy the health benefits of chocolate and satisfy those chocolate cravings without adding pounds from the added calories in the chocolate. Like most things in a diet, planning ahead can avoid a lot of problems. First, two questions must be asked. Why is the chocolate being consumed? How often is chocolate being consumed? If chocolate is being eaten freely throughout the day, it is not a chocolate craving; it is because someone loves chocolate.
Many women have a strong desire for chocolate on a monthly basis. If this is the case, plan ahead to get the largest quantity of cocoa with the fewest calories. For instance, make only a half batch (half batch limits temptation) of one of your favorite brownie recipes. Use a dark chocolate recipe with the highest percentage of cocoa in it that is available. In homemade recipes, the sugar can be cut back to restrict calories. As soon as the brownies finish baking, sprinkle a little Godiva liqueur over the brownies; about 1 teaspoon per 2 X2 inch brownie. The alcohol will evaporate and the brownie will get an added dose of chocolate, plus it is very delicious. When the brownies have cooled thoroughly, cut and wrap each one individually. Plan ahead when you will eat one and take one out at a time to avoid temptation.
If you get a craving for chocolate, make sure you get a good dose of this delicious dark delicacy by making rich chocolate recipes. The following two recipes are Bakers chocolate recipes and will certainly fill those chocolate cravings. The first is for one bowl brownies and the second one is an easy chocolate mousse recipe. I enhance the health benefits of chocolate in the one bowl brownies by using a good dose of Godiva chocolate liqueur and they are delicious. This could also be used if making a chocolate fudge cake recipe. When you purchase the Godiva liqueur make sure it is the rich dark type; the others just are not the same.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine chocolate and butter on low heat and stir until chocolate is melted.
Stir sugar into melted chocolate mixture; mix in eggs and vanilla until blended.
Stir in flour and nuts and spread into greased 9 X 13 inch pan.
Bake about 30 to 35 minutes or until pick comes out with fudgy crumbs; do not over bake.
Remove from oven.
Now is when I sprinkle with the Godiva liqueur; some people choose to add it to the batter before baking.
Melt marshmallows with milk over low heat while stirring; add chocolate and stir until melted.
Beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form; gently stir into chocolate mixture.
Pour into individual dessert dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Garnish with fresh raspberries. Delicious!
In the South American countries, chocolate is used for altitude sickness. Again it is best to consume it with a high percentage of cocoa. A medicinal tea called cocoa tea is readily available in these countries which are at a high elevation. When drinking this tea without sugar, it has practically no calories.
Two other ways to get good health benefits of chocolate without adding a lot of extra calories are by eating cocoa beans and cocoa nibs. The nibs are partly ground cocoa beans. Both are more natural than the processed chocolate therefore benefiting the body more. They can be eaten as a snack, added to cereal, yogurt, and smoothies or in those brownies.
One of the health benefits of chocolate is that it works as a natural detoxification when applied to the outside of the body. This can be done with a chocolate massage or think about a recipe for a chocolate soufflé facial. Let me tell you from experiencing this, this is wonderful! This is truly a reason to link women and chocolate! There is no need to worry about consuming calories.
The aroma of the warm melted chocolate when having one of these massages immediately relaxes one into another world. Having this warm chocolate lathered all over the body sends the mind into a heavenly bliss. After a gentle massage rubbing this warm thick sauce into the body, who needs to eat! But just in case, I was served big luscious strawberries dipped in creamy chocolate.