February 2014: Chocolate and Strawberries

Chocolate: Sweetness without the Guilt!

Indulgently delicious, dark chocolate has many surprising health benefits:

  • May lower overall blood pressure
  • Can lower cholesterol
  • Contains serotonin which boosts mood
  • High in antioxidants
  • Flavanols found in chocolate may have other cardiovascular benefits such as improving circulation
  • The scent of chocolate can induce relaxation

In general, research does not appear to indicate that more is better- so enjoy chocolate in moderation. As little as 3 grams per day of dark chocolate (1 ounce of chocolate could easily have 30 grams alone) has been shown to have potential health benefits. Now you can celebrate Valentine’s Day guilt-free with a few pieces of decadent dark chocolate.

Recipe of the Month: Vanilla or Chocolate Coconut Mousse
Something delicious to dip your favorite fruit into.

Serves at least 4
• 1 can coconut milk
• ¼ cup cocoa powder (optional for chocolate mousse)
• ½ spoon pure vanilla extract
• Sweetener to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the unopened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Remove from refrigerator in the morning, open can, and scrape the top solid layer into a mixing bowl. Do not place the thin liquid at the bottom of the can into the mixing bowl- instead consider using it for a smoothie or other recipe.
3. Whip the coconut cream (*you can purchase premade coconut cream in many stores and skip the above steps) with an electric mixer until it appears to have the consistency of of whipped cream.
4. Gently mix cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sweetener, or anything else you might enjoy, such as cinnamon, into the bowl until uniform during the mixing process. Do not over mix.
5. Pour over your favorite berries. For the data below, consider using 2 cups raw, halved strawberries:

Per serving: 1/4 ingredients used

Calories 128
Protein 2g
Total Fat 13g
Carbs 69g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 8mg
Fiber 1g

Fitness Corner

According the online video titled 23 1/2 hours, if you walked or exercised just 30 minutes to 1 hour a day, you can gain some of these benefits:

  • Improves knee arthritis pain and ability to move
  • Can reduce progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Helps to manage diabetes
  • Reduces the number of hip fractures among post-menopausal women
  • Can decrease anxiety
  • Reduces depression
  • Can lower overall risk of premature death
  • Fights fatigue
  • Improves overall quality of life
Advertisements