Eating chocolate can protect you from heart attacks and strokes

chocolate-cocoaChocolate lovers, rejoice: researchers have found that eating chocolate can have a positive impact on your health. In a study involving nearly 158,000 men and women, they determined that a correlation existed between the consumption of chocolate and a diminished risk of stroke and heart attacks.

While news about incorporating chocolate into the diet is nothing new, many people might be surprised tthat this study found that milk chocolate, which is often considered dark chocolate’s evil twin, is also healthy. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be so quick to pass on chocolate no matter what kind it is. Instead, you can enjoy some on a daily basis just like those in the study did. Compared to those who didn’t eat any types of chocolate, those who ingested the highest levels of it regularly (with the average being 7g daily) had a 25 percent lower risk of experiencing any cardiovascular disease episode and a 23 percent lower risk of stroke.

Why is milk chocolate also beneficial? The experts suggest that the presence of flavonoids and milk ingredients like fatty acids and calcium play a role.

Chocolate need

Negative Side Effects of Chocolate

Negative Side Effects of Chocolate

Despite the wealth of positive media coverage dark chocolate has received for its myriad of health benefits, an article in “USA Today” states more research is needed before you start overindulging on this treat. Chocolate contains large amounts of butter, sugar and cream, which can break your diet. If you rely on the occasional piece of chocolate to alleviate stress or satisfy a craving, that’s fine, but consuming too much can have adverse health effects.

Weight Gain and Heart Disease

Consuming chocolate can cause weight gain. Photo Credit CandyBox Images/iStock/Getty Images
One bar of milk chocolate that has 1.55 ounces or 44 grams, contains 235 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 of which come from saturated fat, and 221 grams of sugar. One ounce of dark chocolate, or 28.35 grams, contains 156 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 from saturated fat, and 13 grams of sugar. Saturated fat elevates blood cholesterol, which puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. The added sugar in chocolate has no nutritional value, which can cause weight gain and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. If you’re going to indulge in chocolate, Alice Lichtenstein, a

Should Babies Have Chocolate?

Should Babies Have Chocolate?

In general, babies less than 1 year old should avoid chocolate, particularly, dark and milk chocolate. These contain caffeine-like substances. Caffeine is unsuitable for very small children because of its stimulating effect. As children reach a year old, they can tolerate small amounts of white chocolate, which contains less caffeine. However, even in this case, the high sugar content makes it far from ideal as a baby snack.


Babies are designed to take in breast milk or formula for the first four to six months of life. A baby’s digestive system can’t handle solid foods, including chocolate, for up to six months. You may find that even after that, it takes several months to wean your baby onto mashed solids. Babies generally start out on wet cereal and move to pureed vegetables and eventually to pureed meats and mashed foods. This process may last another six months and more. Chocolate doesn’t feature as a recommended stage in introducing your baby to solid foods.


Though no evidence appears to link moderate caffeine consumption in children with serious long-term complications, you should avoid giving caffeine products to babies.

7 Tips on Giving Chocolates to Your Valentine

Every year millions of people exchange chocolates on February 14th for Valentine’s Day. This trend has grown very popular in recent times, especially with the rise of quality chocolates (…and the number of chocoholics). Still, even in these modern times there are a few things you need to consider before you run out and grab a chocolate gift.

Fresh chocolates are the best to get

Some of the larger chocolate candy makers make their chocolates for the “busy season” (December through February) as early as summer time. That means that some of the packaged chocolates you can purchase are several months old. Also, some of these chocolates are made with added preservatives which allow the chocolates to stay good longer, but can affect the taste.
To get around this it is recommended you buy from a local chocolatier, candy store, or bakery who can produce a fresh chocolate treat for you (or at least one that is only a day or two old). If you are sending your chocolates to someone far away, check to see if there is a good local place that could deliver fresh chocolates for you and lessen the chance of shipping mishaps.

Nothing beats a homemade gift

For a

5 Sweet Tips For Using Your Chocolate Fountain

Been to a party recently? Bet it featured a chocolate fountain on the dessert table. Now that you’ve tasted the fun, you are probably excited about hosting a chocolate fountain at your next shin-dig. But unless you are an experienced user of these towers of decadence, your dessert table and your guests are likely to be covered in a deliciously sticky mess. Here are a few tips to keep the chocolate flowing and the tablecloth clean.

1. Freeze the food ahead of time so the chocolate will harden immediately. You can freeze fresh fruit such as strawberries, banana chunks, pineapple chunks and seedless grapes. Throw in a little mango for something more exotic.

2. Prepare for drips. If you prefer not to freeze your food items, better be prepared for plenty of “oops” and “oh-no’s”. The best thing to do is to use a pretty plastic tablecloth to cover the food table, and set out plenty of small dishes and napkins for your guests. A basket filled with “wet wipes” never hurts. Even if you do freeze the food, accidents are going to happen. By planning for them, you and your guests will be able to relax and enjoy the party.

3. Put


Dipping Chocolate Rule 1: Pick Wisely

All chocolate is not created equal. The ideal chocolate for melting and dipping is called “couverture” chocolate.

Couverture chocolate has a higher ratio of cocoa butter to cocoa, which helps it melt more smoothly. If you can’t find couverture, use the best quality chocolate that you can find. Higher quality chocolate will taste the best.

Also, make sure you’re using enough chocolate! If you use a very small amount (say, less than two cups), it will go cool too quickly and you’ll have to keep starting over.

Dipping Chocolate Rule 2: Practice TLC

Tempering chocolate the “cheater’s way” requires a gentle hand and lots of care. Begin by bringing a pot of water to a simmer. Once it simmers, turn off the heat. Place two-thirds of your chocolate into a heat-proof bowl, and place it over the pot of water (most of the bowl should touch the water).

Don’t touch or stir the chocolate. Let it sit until it’s more than halfway melted. Once it’s melted enough, stir it very gently to help it finish melting.

(If you are using a thermometer and tempering your chocolate the classic way, you’ll want the melted chocolate to reach 122°F for dark chocolate and

The Surprising Consequences of Banning Chocolate Milk

For many children eating school lunch, chocolate milk is a favorite choice. What would happen if chocolate milk were banned from school cafeterias? “Students take 10% less milk, waste 29% more and may even stop eating school meals,” says Andrew Hanks, PhD.

In a recent article published in PLOS ONE, researchers for the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (B.E.N. Center), reported results from data collected at 11 Oregon elementary schools where chocolate milk had been banned from the cafeterias and replaced with skim milk. While this policy eliminated the added sugar in chocolate milk, there were unexpected nutritional and economic backlashes.

The new Cornell Food and Brand Lab study by Andrew Hanks, David Just, and Brian Wansink, found that eliminating chocolate milk from the elementary schools decreased total milk sales by 10%, indicating that many students substituted white for chocolate milk. Even though more students were taking white milk, they wasted 29% more than before. Nutritionally, after the milk substitution, students on average consumed less sugar and fewer calories, but also consumed less protein and calcium. Additionally, the ban may have been a factor in a 7% decrease in District’s Lunch Program participation.

Removing flavored milk from cafeterias decreases

Tips on How to Make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and wonder what went wrong? Well I’ve chatted with a few friends to find out how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies and am so excited I did. Because now I know all of the secrets passed down from grandmothers, friends, and neighbors. And you will too!
Some of these tips are so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first, and some of them take a little more work. But in the end it’s all worth it for the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
How to Make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Get That Scale Out!
Scales aren’t just for weighing yourself every morning. Having a kitchen scale handy while baking is a great way to make sure that you are adding the right measurements into the mix. Being off on one or two ingredients can completely change a recipe while baking and plays a huge roll in chocolate chip cookies.
Brandie of Home Cooking Memories has the perfect post in just how to measure out your ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe. The best part? There are pictures in her step-by-step tutorial. And? She links to a great

Tips on how to identify and taste fine Chocolate

Chocolatiers use a language similar to wine tasters to describe the complex variety of aromas and tastes they find. Cacao beans are said to have over 400 separate aromas and over 300 different flavours and the finest chocolates have different ‘notes’ which, like fine wine, develop and linger in the mouth.

Begin by cleansing the palette. Sparkling, and iced water, tend to numb the senses so try still, room temperature water – or a dry cracker, or small piece of bread, or an apple slice, in order to eliminate any pre-existing flavours which could mask or distort the flavours.

Allow the chocolate to come to room temperature. Observe the colour – there should be no white powder, or so-called ‘bloom’, on the surface.

Next, snap a small piece in half and inhale the aroma at the break. There should be the warm, unmistakeable fra-grance of cacao. Then look for any fruity notes. Engaging the sense of smell is a teaser for the tongue. Beware of plastic or chemical smells or a lack of aroma. With a little practice you will be able to tell a lot about chocolate simply by smelling it.

Place the piece on the tongue, without chewing, allow it to melt

6 Simple Health Tips for Buying Chocolate

Shopping for “good” chocolate is kind of like searching for a viable online date. Approach the market without a plan and it’s easy to get duped by glossy packaging and false claims. Know what you’re looking for, though, and you can find yourself a sweetie with substance — guaranteed to reduce your stress levels, ignite your sex life, and make your heart sing from the first blissful encounter. In fact, findings from a new long-term study in Heart journal involving 25,000 volunteers suggest that eating up to 3.5 ounces of high-quality chocolate per day can significantly reduce risks of heart disease and stroke. Sort through the fakes, protect your heart, and treat your valentine to the good stuff, with these six simple tips for buying the best healthy chocolate on the market:

1. More Bitter, More Better
The term “dark” chocolate isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so any bar can be labeled as “dark” — even if it’s not. From a health perspective, what you’re investing in when you buy dark chocolate, as opposed to milk or white, is a higher concentration of flavanols and polyphenols — antioxidants that disarm free radicals associated with disease. In fact, gram-for-gram,

5 Healthy Ways to Eat More Chocolate

If you find that a treat of one or two individually wrapped squares quickly turns into a handful, try incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate into meals and snacks instead. Here are five delectable ways to do just that, so you can satisfy your choc-o-tooth without derailing your healthy efforts.

Blend it into a smoothie

In addition to adding dark chocolate chips or few squares of chopped dark chocolate to smoothies, you can also get your fix (and the health benefits) by whipping in unsweetened cocoa powder, like I did in this chocolate cherry kale smoothie. The chocolaty flavor and sweetness of the cherries mask the bitterness of greens like kale, so you can sneak in an extra serving. Look for raw or pure non-Dutched cocoa powder. Dutching or alkalizing is a chemical process that lowers acidity, which has also been shown to markedly reduce the cocoa’s antioxidant content. It’s often done to reduce bitterness, but I find that quality brands taste wonderful in their natural, non-alkalized state.

Add it to cereal

Add some healthy decadence to the most important meal of the day by chopping a square or two of dark chocolate and swirling it into hot oatmeal, or sprinkling chocolate shavings onto

Why Chocolate Can Be Poisonous for Your Dog

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs; however, the hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.

Why not chocolate?

  • The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
  • A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects.
  • A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed a,bove, call your veterinarian immediately.

A single piece of chocolate should not be a problem. A single piece doesn’t contain a large enough theobromine dosage to harm your dog; however, if you have a

10 Healthy Alternatives to chocolate under 100 calories

(Calorie values given are averages and may vary from brand to brand)

1. Frozen Chocolate banana

(1/2 a small banana dipped in 2 squares dark melted chocolate and frozen)

75 calories

This treat involves chocolate so you still get that chocolaty taste, but by combining it with the healthy, low fat banana you are likely to eat less actual chocolate.  The banana also provides important vitamins and minerals such as potassium and adds fibre and bulk to your snack, meaning it will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.  As an added bonus frozen banana tastes just like banana ice cream.

2. Hot cocoa

(Made with one cup of non-fat milk and two teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder)

100 calories

Another way to get that chocolaty flavour without the fat and calories, this drink also provides a good dose of calcium for strong bones and protein to keep you full.  That’s a lot more than a Hershey’s bar will give you.  If you find the cocoa a little bitter add artificial sweeteners to taste.

3.  Chocolate milk

(Low fat and calorie, 200ml)

100 calories

There are many low fat, sugar free chocolate beverages on the market that can satisfy your chocolate craving and provide valuable nutrients such as calcium.  Some are even fortified to

How to best enjoy and buy delicious, healthy chocolate, with its fascinating healing history

Chocolate has been enjoyed for centuries and used to cure many illnesses. Cocoa is grown in tropical countries and can be eaten as raw cacao, hot chocolate, candy and baked goods. Purchasing chocolate that is organic and certified fair trade ensures ethical treatment of cocoa producers plus higher nutritional content.

Medicinal uses of chocolate through the centuries

The medicinal use of cocoa in North America and Europe dates back to the 16th century. Scholars have discovered that, for hundreds of years, the beverage called chocolate was administered to sick patients and used to prevent illness. Beginning in the 1500s, there is documented use of cacao to treat fatigue, fever, emaciation, exhaustion, poor bowel function, anemia, kidney stones and tuberculosis.

Recent discoveries of cocoa health benefits

The recent discovery of the beneficial phenolic compounds in cocoa has created tremendous interest in cocoa’s health benefits. Cocoa has been touted for its great antioxidant powers, along with its potential to help with blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and aging. A search of pub med reveals thousands of studies on cocoa’s healing powers.

Hundreds of chemical compounds exist in cacao including alkaloids and flavonoids. One alkaloid, theobromine, works as a mood enhancer and lowers blood pressure. Cocoa also provides nutritious magnesium,

Eating chocolate is good for you

It’s many people’s favourite vice – but if the latest evidence is to

be believed, the last thing you should feel when you secretly tuck into hunk

of chocolate is guilty.

Scientists have revealed that eating chocolate – in reasonable

amounts – makes you feel emotionally better and so improves the smooth

running of your body’s endorphins. It even protects against heart disease. So

here we tell you all you need to know and reveal why we should all,

occasionally, indulge in a sweet treat…

Chocolate makes you live longer Researchers at Harvard University in the U.S. studied 8,000 men for 65 years

and found that those who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a

month, lived almost a year longer than those who didn’t eat any.

They concluded that this is likely to be due to the fact that cocoa contains

antioxidants called polyphenols, also found in red wine, which prevent the

oxidation of harmful cholesterol.

Antioxidants are also known to protect against cancer.

Chocolate is good for stress This is thought to be because it contains valeric acid, which is a relaxant

and tranquilliser.

Also, the sugar in chocolate may reduce stress – sugar has been shown to

have a calming and pain-relieving effect on babies and animals because sweet

tastes activate the opiate-like

Is Milk Chocolate Healthy?

Chocolate, derived from the cacao bean, has many beneficial compounds that can contribute to good health. The addition of ingredients in the manufacturing of milk chocolate candy, however, decreases the nutritional value of chocolate and makes this food less healthy than its dark chocolate relative. Learning more about milk chocolate and what it contains may motivate you to choose alternative treats or to switch to dark chocolate, which can be lower in fat, calories and sugar.


It is important to pay attention to your caloric intake, because consuming too many calories can lead to an unhealthy weight gain. Foods high in calories can have a place in your healthy diet, as long as they are eaten in small amounts on an occasional basis. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website adds that the weight gain that can accompany a high-calorie diet may also contribute to heart disease, diabetes and high-blood pressure. Milk chocolate is one of these foods that is not considered healthy because of the number of calories a small serving contains. A 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar has 235 calories.


Another consideration is the addition of high-fat ingredients to achieve the taste

5 Things You Need to Know About Chocolate and Cancer

Chocolate Contains Antioxidants that May Ward Off Cancer
Is chocolate actually good for us? The jury’s still out, but it might be. Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans, which are also rich in flavonoids–a family of substances that act as antioxidants. These may protect our cells from oxidative damage. It’s a widespread belief that free radicals, which are formed from the oxidation process, have the ability to alter cells’ DNA, transforming them into cancerous cells. Antioxidants help by sweeping up the free radicals, preventing this type of damage from occurring.

The Research Study that Makes Chocolate Seem Even More Appealing
Researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University honed in on a substance in cocoa known as pentameric procyanidin (pentamer) that may exude promising antioxidant capabilities. In the lab, Robert B. Dickson, PhD and his team isolated pentamer and tested it on breast cancer cells to see how they would react. They found that pentamer compounds were able to deactivate certain proteins in the cancer cells, preventing them from dividing further. Although this study is indeed promising, it is unknown if this phenomenon could be replicated in human studies. This preliminary research study-one of several to follow-was funded by

Dark chocolate increases attention and alertness while improving blood flow

There is some good news for the chocolate lovers out there: a new study carried out by researchers from Northern Arizona University reveals that the intake of dark chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao could be the key to improving attention and alertness and get you through the afternoon slump.

“Chocolate is indeed a stimulant and it activates the brain in a really special way,” said Dr. Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at Northern Arizona University. “It can increase brain characteristics of attention, and it also significantly affects blood pressure levels.”

The study was published in the journal NeuroRegulation and sponsored by American chocolate manufacturer the Hershey Company. The study is actually the first of its kind to investigate the influence that chocolate has on brain activity and attention using the electroencephalography (EEG) technique. With EEG, it is possible to take images of the brain’s activity while performing cognitive tasks.

For the study, Stevens and his team recruited 122 volunteers aged between 18 and 25. They were all given one of the following options: chocolate with high cacao content (60 percent), chocolate with low cacao content (0 percent), high cacao chocolate with added L-theanine (the amino acid found in green

Eight reasons why pregnant women should eat chocolate

There seems to be great reasons why pregnant women should treat themselves with chocolate. This is because these luscious treats are found to improve a pregnant woman’s condition by preventing certain complications including pre-eclampsia. According to studies, chocolate can not only relieve a pregnant woman’s stress levels but also makes happier babies.

Dark chocolate can help prevent pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is one among many causes of premature birth which also claims the lives of many babies. This condition occurs in pregnant women and is often characterized by high blood pressure. When a pregnant woman’s blood pressure rises, this can lead to convulsions. It may also lead to blood clotting as well as cause damage in the liver. In some cases, pre-eclampsia may also cause the kidneys to fail from functioning.

According to the reports from the Annals of Epidemiology however, the theobromine content in cocoa can help prevent the condition. Research from Yale University concludes after questioning dietary habits of 2,500 pregnant women that those who eat chocolate regularly are 50 percent less likely to suffer from pre-eclampsia during the pregnancy.

Chocolate aids in proper blood pressure regulation

Cocoa, which is used to make chocolate, contains theobromine which aids in proper regulation of blood pressure among

Can Children Eat Dark Chocolate?

Adding a little cocoa to your child’s cup of milk or sprinkling a little bit on a piece of fruit may encourage your child to eat healthy foods he may not want to eat. Chocolate can be part of a healthy and balanced. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, has become a hot topic recently as studies are showing some health benefits. However, even dark chocolate can be high in calories, so children — and adults! — should consume it in moderation.

Health Benefits

The University of Michigan Health System explains that dark chocolate may have beneficial effects on heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood vessels. Chocolate contains flavonoids that have been shown to improve cardiovascular health. These benefits affect children the same as they do adults, although most studies are performed using adults.

Studies with Children

The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cocoa for many medicinal purposes, including constipation and diarrhea. Recent studies involving children have shown that chocolate may be beneficial in preventing these two conditions. A study in the journal “Pediatrics” found that children given cocoa husk, which is very high in fiber, were more likely to