Dark chocolate lovers rejoice. Two pilot studies found that that dark chocolate may be especially beneficial for the brain and the immune system.
Both studies fed study subjects high cacao (70%) dark chocolate and monitored a host of cellular processes, including gene activity in both brain cells and immune cells, as well as brainwave activity. The results? The researchers noted a broad array of beneficial changes at the cellular and genetic level after study subjects consumed the 70% dark chocolate.
This is great news as the changes noted can ultimately translate to improvements in mood, memory, immunity, and stress.
High cacao dark chocolate (70 % or higher) is exploding with exceedingly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called flavanols. While larger studies are certainly needed to confirm these exciting findings, keep in mind that we already know that dark chocolate provides a healthy hit of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and iron with hardly any sugar.
A two-square dose of my go-to bar, Ghiradelli 86%, only has a half a teaspoon of sugar! Dark chocolate is certainly a treat that you can enjoy without the guilt. (Experimental Biology Meeting, 2018)
This recipe is decadently delicious and great for you. It is my breakfast of choice on a chilly winter morning. Kids will love it too.
A single serving of quick cooking steel cut oats. (now available in a few brands from the standard grocer)
½ large ripe banana or 1 small banana
2 tsp smooth peanut butter or almond butter
4 oz. of Greek plain non-fat yogurt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Dash or two of cinnamon (optional)
Prepare the oatmeal according to package instructions. (I use the microwave.) Add the banana and use the back of a fork to mash it up and then stir it into the oatmeal. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. You can pop it back into the microwave if you want it hotter. Feel free to add any other fruit or to top it with some nuts, wheat germ, hemp kernels or ground flax. The banana, nut butter, and cocoa powder are essential though – together they create a flavor combination that will give your taste buds a real treat.