Weatherford Democrat

Extension News

February 10, 2013

Attention chocoholics – a little chocolate is good for you

By KATHY SMITH

February is American Heart Month and is a month often celebrated with chocolate. The good news for chocoholics is that studies continue to show a link between chocolate and heart health. Several study reviews concluded that eating dark chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease.

Compounds in cocoa beans called alkaloids, theobromines and antioxidant flavonoids are responsible for chocolate’s health benefits. These heart health compounds are the same ones found in red wine, grape juice and tea. They have anti-inflammatory properties which provide protection against blood clots, improve cholesterol levels and help relax blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure.

But all chocolate is not equally beneficial. Some companies remove all or some of these compounds because they taste bitter. The theobromine also is a cardio-stimulant, while the level of this compound in dark chocolates is safe for humans to consume, it is toxic to animals.

Cocoa beans are initially fermented to develop the familiar chocolate flavor and aroma. After fermentation, the beans are roasted and crushed to a paste. Ingredients such as milk, vanilla, sugar and cocoa butter are added to produce chocolate.

A popular food trend is to carefully select cocoa beans and add unique flavors such as chilies, herbs and sea salt.

If you love the taste but also want the health benefits of chocolate here are some choices of what you want to look for on labels.

• Cocoa or cacao is expressed as a percentage on labels and refers to the total amount of cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and cocoa powder.

• Chocolate liquor is not a liquid and is not alcohol. It is ground bean nibs and may be listed as unsweetened cocoa.

• Cocoa butter is naturally present and is responsible for the melt-in-your mouth quality of some chocolates. The word butter in its name is not a dairy component; cocoa butter is fat from the cocoa bean.

Text Only
Extension News
  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Eat more fruits and vegetables for health

    Many people think that eating healthier will automatically help them slim down. And no wonder — most weight-loss plans emphasize the importance of incorporating more fruit and vegetables in the diet.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Raising children with good morals

    How do our children learn right from wrong? How do we teach them to be the kind of people who enhance rather than diminish the quality of life in our society? How do we pass on to them a sense of morality, values and social responsibility?

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: National Picnic Month

    July is National Picnic Month.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Sun safety tips

    Summer is in full swing and many, with the 4th of July approaching, will be outdoors enjoying the lake, pool or just time with friends. With the exception of the past week or so, daily temperatures are getting warmer and soon that Texas heat will reach 100 degrees. Take precautions and keep from getting too much sun. The sun also has UV rays which can be harmful to the skin. 

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Eating the rainbow with fruits and vegetables

    There are many things we can do that lead to a healthier lifestyle. One important component is meeting our body’s nutrient needs by eating the right foods in the right amounts, which includes our intake of fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables benefits our body by providing nutrients that maintain healthy and may reduce the risk of developing a chronic disease.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Think safety when grilling

    No one really wants to think about food poisoning when they are enjoying the outdoors and grilling food. But food safety is just as important when you are grilling outdoors as when you are in your kitchen. 

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: The essentials of water

    What is odorless, tasteless and has no calories, but is something we need everyday? Water.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Some carbohydrate choices are better than others

    For many people, cutting and reducing the amount of carbohydrates is necessary because of having diabetes, being pre-diabetes or having high triglycerides. When you look at the nutrition facts labels on many of your favorite foods, you may be surprised how many carbs they have and wonder how you can fit your favorite foods into a lower-carb diet.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Helping your children build self-esteem

    Self-esteem can be important in order to be happy and successful in life. A person who has talents that help them achieve, yet lacks self-esteem, can become a major road block in being successful in a relationship, job and almost everything.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kathy smith mug.jpg EXTENSION NEWS: Relieving stress through pleasure and relaxation

    When stress makes you feel down, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to fight off stress. You don’t have to do a lot to find pleasure. Even if you are ill or down, you can find pleasure in simple things such as visiting with friends, or reading a book. 

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success