Better than sex? That's up for debate, but dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure, improve bad cholesterol, and help muscle fatigue. And we're not just sweet-talking.
Superfood: Dark Chocolate
High in antioxidants known as flavonoids, dark chocolate delivers an awesome nutritional wallop. Studies show that modest amounts–no more than 1 to 2 ounces–eaten every day can reduce
risk of blood clots, lower blood pressure, increase endurance, improve skin quality, and even sharpen problem-solving skills.
But put down that candy bar–notice the emphasis on dark chocolate, which has less sugar and 2 to 3 times more flavonoids than
milk chocolate (white chocolate has none at all). And remember, even dark chocolate still contains calories and fat, so please
use in moderation.
Outrageous Warm Double-Chocolate Pudding
The Marvin Gaye of desserts, this smooth, sensual treat features a rich chocolate custard topped with chocolate cake. Outrageous?
Yes, and not only in flavor: using applesauce in place of butter keeps fat down to about 7 grams per serving.
Traditional mousses rely on hefty doses of egg yolks and whipping cream to achieve a rich, yet airy texture. This sneakily
delicious version combines cornstarch-and-egg thickened custard with nonfat whipped topping to get the same effect. Plus,
you get a double-dose of flavonoids from cocoa and bittersweet chocolate.
Guests might just moan on cue from the deep taste of semisweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa. In fact, cocoa
is one of the best ways to reap benefits from dark chocolate without overdoing the fat: it's what's left of cocoa beans after
cocoa butter has been removed.
The darker the chocolate, the more health benefits it contains. For this recipe, look for a good-quality bar that has 70%
or greater cocoa content. One bite of this chocolate chunk-studded treat, and you (and your heart) will be glad you did.
Here's the most important technique for making this mousse successfully: knowing how to keep a secret. Why? Because it uses
silken tofu to achieve its smooth texture. So in addition to antioxidants from chocolate and oranges, each serving also offers
an ample dose of heart-healthy soy protein.
Espresso Crepes with Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate Sauce
You'd think the intoxicating combination of crepes and ice cream drizzled with a sultry chocolate sauce would make you lose
your head, but in fact, the opposite may be true. Preliminary research shows that chocolate increases blood flow to the brain,
which may improve attention span, memory, and problem-solving skills.
With chocolate it's always a balancing act between the pros (antioxidants) and the cons (fat and sugar). So be sure to slice
these brownies into 16 squares rather than 9. The smaller pieces will help you control portion size, and clock in with fewer
than 200 calories each.