By Joanne Smith on February 11, 2020.
Friday is Valentine’s Day and the red, pink, hearts and Cupids are in full force. There are also a little extra chocolate treats to tempt tastebuds throughout many stores.
Chocolate is a deliciously decadent treat that, like many foods, does actually have a healthy component as well as less healthy ingredients. I might mention moderation is the key. Sound familiar?
Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. My own personal belief is that a closer a food is to its God-given source the better it is for us. The cacao bean is a good example. This small bean is full of antioxidants as well as minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. Antioxidants have several health benefits in our body. They play a key role in stopping free radicals from attacking and breaking down cells in our body. This does happen naturally as we age but we really don’t want it to happen any faster then it has to!
Antioxidants can also play an important role in preventing diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease.
When choosing your chocolate the most health benefits will be in the darkest chocolate that is, as I mentioned, closest to the original cacao bean as possible. The food factor of enjoyment however comes into play as the original form is quite bitter so needs some sweetening to make it palatable.
This is where it’s helpful to read your food label. Look for chocolate with less sugar and more actual cacao solids of 70% or greater.
All said however chocolate still has a fair bit of sugar and fat and should be enjoyed in moderation. Except on Valentine’s Day!
Every Valentine’s column I like to include a quote about love. Since it is a day to celebrate love it doesn’t just have to be about romantic love it can also include everyone around us. Perhaps we can show love to others by making an effort to show kindness as often as we possibly can.
“Kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.” — Unknown source
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.
Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup dark cacao powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Combine all of these ingredients into a large bowl. Then add:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
Beat 2 minutes with an electric beater at medium speed.
Stir in one cup boiling water, batter will be thin.
Pour into greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes.
Submitted into a local cookbook by Michelle Knodel and Elaine Haaf