For those of us resolving to lose weight this year, the upcoming temptations of Valentine’s Day may have us a bit concerned. Valentine’s Day is synonymous with flowers, hearts, Cupid and, of course, chocolate.
Sweethearts, family and friends love to show how much they care with those iconic heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Since you’re focusing on your health this year, you might consider giving yourself and others the gift of dark chocolate. That’s right, dark chocolate actually offers a few healthy benefits – in moderation, that is.
Dark chocolate is a great choice for satisfying our sweet tooth and tends to have less sugar. Typically, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar content will be. Dark chocolate is also a source of antioxidants which may help to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. The darker, the better!
It is important to remember though, that while dark chocolate may provide heart healthy benefits, it is also high in fat and calories. Moderation remains the key. We wouldn’t want it to replace other healthy foods in our diet, however when having a decadent piece of chocolate this Valentine’s Day remember to reach for the dark!
Baker’s Tip: Try using dark chocolate or cocoa powder in your favorite chocolate-lover’s recipe. To substitute 1oz of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 Tbsp cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp sugar + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.
For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.