The Beneficial Powers of Cocoa: For Your Heart
Delicious & Nutritious
By: Pam Smith, RDN
Cocoa has captivated the world for thousands of years and is a big part of modern cuisine in the form of chocolate. Health benefits of cocoa include decreased inflammation, improved brain health, blood sugar and weight control, and healthy teeth and skin. And one of it’s biggest beneficial powers is in the cardiovascular system and the heart! The flavanols (anti-inflammatory antioxidants) in cocoa can improve blood circulation and lower the risk of stroke, reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and help to prevent blood clots.
Often seen as “the sweetheart spice,” cocoa is nutritious and easy to add to your diet in creative ways. Use non-alkalized cocoa powder (which is just chocolate minus its natural fat - cocoa butter) or dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa to maximize health benefits. If chocolate is a guilty pleasure, then unsweetened cocoa powder is worth spooning up, guilt-free.
Using cocoa powder in spice blends - especially as a rub for meats or a seasoning for veggies - can get you all the benefits without missing the sweetness. For the most benefits, try a teaspoon a day or a tablespoon every few days.
Cocoa is a key ingredient in Mocha Chili (savory, chili blend with cocoa, espresso, chipotle and a hint of raw sugar) and Warm Winter (all the goodness of Mocha Chili plus cinnamon and orange).
Get your cocoa in your meals with any of these nutritious & delicious P.S. Flavor!™ Club recipes:
Apple Chai Puff Pancake with Mocha Chicken Sausage and Texy Marys Mocha Chili Cornish Game Hens over Chai Pilaf with Roasted Spiced Carrots (Bonus: Mai Chai Spiced Sangria!) Texy Shrimp Tacos with Mocha Citrus Salsa, Cabbage Slaw, and Cilantro Crema Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mocha Chili