Blog Site Discontinued June 23, 2017

Welcome. This blog site, healthy eating and food safety, has been discontinued as of June 23, 2017. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chocolate, Chocolate and More Chocolate

Chocolate, Chocolate and More Chocolate

What better time of the year to treat your Valentine as well as yourself to chocolate and more specifically to dark chocolate. In the U.S., more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold Valentine’s week, 65 million pounds during Easter, and 71 million pounds at Halloween.

Europeans account for nearly half of all the chocolate the world eats. The average Brit, Swiss, or German eats 24 pounds of chocolate a year, while someone living in the U.S. consumes only 11.7 pounds a year.

Cacao is raised by hand, on small, family‐owned farms. Chocolate comes from a fruit tree; it’s made from a seed. Approximately 3 million tons of cocoa beans are turned into chocolate products each year. It takes 2 to 4 days to make a single‐serving chocolate bar

Nutrients, phytonutrients, and fatty acids found naturally in cocoa may be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Other than cinnamon, cacao is the highest natural source of certain heart‐healthy polyphenols. Polyphenols can serve as vasodilators. The risk of cardiovascular disease was shown to be reduced by 50% in routine chocolate eaters. Cocoa flavonols are absorbed into, and accumulate in, the areas of the brain involved in learning and memory. Research shows long-term flavonol consumption may have protective effects against cognitive decline, including stroke and dementia. Chocolate can also improve a person’s mood.
In moderation, chocolate may be part of a healthy diet.
• Count Calories: Balance the calories in chocolate by cutting calories in other treats.
• Pair It: Eat chocolate with other foods, such as fruit or pretzels, to complement flavors while enjoying smaller amounts.
• Explore It: Enjoy the variety of flavor experiences from light to very dark chocolate.
• Eat Slowly: Eat chocolate slowly as you savor the flavors.
• Save Yourself: To stick to modest portions, plan ahead and buy chocolates that can be portioned or are individually wrapped.

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