Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Chocoholics rejoice!  Your sweet little habit may be keeping you slim and healthy.  Researchers from the University of California at San Diego have recently published findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine that assert regular chocolate eaters are actually thinner than those who stay away from the confection. While the metabolic benefits of moderate chocolate consumption might be “calorie-neutral”, results of the study found that adults who ate chocolate more frequently had a lower body mass index.  This was despite the fact that frequent consumers did not eat fewer overall calories or exercise more than their counterparts.

In another piece of sweet news, heavy chocolate consumption has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. A study appearing in the British Medical Journal confirms a relationship between cardiovascular health and through chocolate’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Positive effects also include improving insulin sensitivity, mood stabilization during bouts of depression, reducing incidence of stroke, and lowering blood pressure.

The beneficial metabolic properties of chocolate are most likely due to compounds called “polyphenols”, chemicals that potentially inhibit pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that digests dietary fat.  Another hypothesis postulates that chocolate may even aid in upping the amount of energy that our cells produce.  While most of the studies did not differentiate between milk, light, or dark varieties of chocolate, the research suggests that all calories are not handled equally by the body.  Some nutritionists say that dark chocolate in particular is a smart choice for dieters as it is bittersweet and not as hunger-stimulating as forms with higher levels of sugar.  High fat content may help to satiate the body and curb appetite for longer periods of time.  Small amounts of caffeine stimulate the burning of calories while the body is at rest.

So, the next time you want to demonstrate your affection for a loved one and your concern over their health all in the same gesture, pick up a large box of the new “Vitamin C”.  Finally, a more delicious way to diet.



The Magic Muffin Mix: Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

Our  household recently enjoyed a wonderful weekend filled with delicious and nutritious chocolate beet cupcakes. From the same kitchen that boasts regular batches of incredibly disappearing kale chips and notoriously mouthwatering sweet potato curry, here’s a must-try addition to your regular menu of well-balanced appetizers.

If you crave their vitamins and minerals but have a hard time turning those intensely crimson root vegetables into something irresistibly scrumptious, then here’s a formula to satisfy all your dietary needs and indulge your most decadent appetite. Looking for a way to deliver the daily requirement of hearty vegetables to your fussiest young eaters? Look no further. Just be sure your stock pile the ingredients, because when the first batch is gone, the whole house will be clamoring for more!

Recipe: 1 cup of soy milk (we used hemp milk) 1-1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 5 tbsp. cocoa powder 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar (last time used 2/3 cup agave this time about the same sugar beet syrup. Agave is sweeter than sugar so you need less in general.) 1/2 cup canola oil (we used safflower oil) 2 tbsp. molasses 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. salt (we added salted almonds and skipped the salt.) 1/2 cup roasted chopped almonds 1/2 cup chocolate chips 2 medium red beets, raw and grated

In a small bowl, whisk the milk and vinegar, and then set aside to curdle. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and powders. In another large bowl, whisk the sugar, oils, molasses, vanilla and salt. Add milk to this admixture once thoroughly whisked. Add wet ingredients (large bowl #1) and dry ingredients (large bowl #2), and stir until just combined. Add beets, chocolate chips and nuts. Fill cupcake liners to the top and dome them slightly, for they don’t rise like regular cupcakes. Bake at 25-30 minutes at 325º.

We baked for 30 min. at 350º, and they achieved a sumptuously hearty yet succulently moist consistency, more like muffins than cupcakes. We couldn’t eat them fast enough. That batch produced 12 regular sized cupcakes and 8 minis. All were devoured quickly.

Pairs nicely with pistachio ice cream, sliced cantaloupe and/or White Russians.