Celebrate World Chocolate Day on July 7th by treating your mom to some dark chocolate. While sugary treats aren't recommended as part of a healthy diet, dark chocolate isn't frowned upon. In moderation, dark chocolate has some nutritional benefits that are hard to ignore.
Seven Benefits to Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is definitely delicious. It's also good for your mom and here's why.
1. It's high in fiber. Just 3.5 ounces contains 11 grams of fiber.
2. Dark chocolate is rich in iron. A 3.5-ounce bar contains more than half of your daily requirement.
3. Antioxidants are plentiful in chocolate. It has more antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables.
4. Dark chocolate can trigger your body to produce nitric oxide, which helps relax the arteries and improve blood flow. This can decrease the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
5. The cocoa in dark chocolate is high in flavonols that can help reduce the risk of diabetes.
6. A remote Caribbean tribe known for consuming 5 or more cups of cocoa each day were found to have much lower rates of cancer than average. It's believed the flavonols are the reason.
7. Dark chocolate contains almost equal portions of oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Some of these are saturated fats that boost bad cholesterol levels. But, studies have found that good fats in chocolate can boost good cholesterol levels and reduce bad ones.
What Should You Look For When You're Choosing Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is a blend of cocoa, cocoa butter, and sugar. Unlike milk chocolate, there are no milk solids that give it the milder, creamy taste. Dark chocolate is going to be earthier, possibly bitter, and very rich.
When you're shopping for dark chocolate for your mom, aim for bars that have the highest cocoa content you enjoy. The content has to be at least 70 percent in order to gain the nutritional and health benefits.
Some cocoa will say “Dutch process.” This means it's been processed using an alkali to reduce the bitterness and alter the color. The use of alkali in processing also decreases the antioxidants in the chocolate. Avoid chocolate that lists “processed with alkali” or “Dutch process.”
Sugar is added to dark chocolate to cut the bitterness of the cocoa. It's ideal to avoid bars that list sugar as the first ingredient. Look for dark chocolate where sugar is at the end of the ingredient list.
Has Your Mom Given Up Cooking?
Are you finding your mom doesn't cook as often or at all? If she's getting takeout regularly, it is time to hire elder care services. Talk to the elder care aide about making sure that your mom enjoys a daily snack that boosts her antioxidants.
A plate of fresh fruit and melted dark chocolate is a great snack that keeps added sugar to a minimum and eases a sweet tooth. Elder care providers can make sure she's enjoying this snack and healthy meals all day long. Call our elder care agency to get started.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care Services in Victorville CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300.