Delicious Dark Chocolate; What You Need To Know

You have probably heard the age-old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but has anyone ever told you that the sweet treat, dark chocolate, could improve your health as well?

Studies suggest that eating raw unprocessed cocoa, a natural rich source of flavanols, can positively increase energy levels, raise exercise stamina, and improve other measures of heart health in inactive older adults. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols, found in dark chocolate, can relax the arteries, decreasing blood pressure; increase blood flow to the brain, improving memory and thinking skills; and suppress the production of stress hormones, thus decreasing stress and improving one’s mood.

Now before you run out to purchase and devour an entire bag of M&M’s®, you need to be aware that most chocolate companies remove the many antioxidants that would provide any health benefit. Since most people find the flavanols very bitter and undesirable, they are removed during processing.

If you are interested in adding chocolate into your healthy lifestyle, look for non-alkalized dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa content or higher. The higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. And while most dark chocolate contains added sugar, make sure it is not the main ingredient. Lastly, it is recommended to limit your cocoa intake to one ounce a day — just enough to curb your sweet tooth.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy chocolate without the guilt – then go for it! Better yet, how about treating yourself to some dark chocolate dipped apples?

Delicious Dark Chocolate Dipped Apples
Prep Time: 30 minutesapple with chocolate and almonds
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 6 apples

Ingredients
6 apples
1 bag 70% dark chocolate melting chips
4 cups total of the topping(s) of your choice
(crushed peanuts, toasted coconut, almonds, walnuts,
sea salt, candy chips, or other)

Instructions
Dry apples completely before beginning. Poke a stick in
the bottom of the apple. Make sure to only go a little
more than halfway through the apples with the stick.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler.

Roll the apple in the melted chocolate, making sure to
only coat each apple once.

Roll the chocolate covered apple in the topping(s) of your
choice. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment
paper.

Repeat the process for the remaining 5 apples.
Put the baking sheet with the finished apples in the
refrigerator. Allow to cool for at least one hour.

Stephanie Coutros is Digital Marketing Strategist.