Happy Heart's Decadent Chocolate Recipes
By Liz Moore, RD, LDN
Attention chocolate lovers: it’s okay to give in to temptation! Nutritionists have long believed in the health benefits of dark chocolate and there is plenty of research to support the claim.
We’ve previously discussed the truth about chocolate and your heart, and how dark chocolate in moderation is good for our health. The flavonoids in chocolate act as antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, which can lead to heart disease. Flavonoids also help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure to lower the risk of heart attack, hypertension and atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries).
The purest chocolate, at least 60 percent cocoa, has the most flavonoids. Next time you have a craving for chocolate, choose the darkest one you can find to reap the heart health benefits.
February is national Heart Month, and what better way to celebrate than with chocolate? Below are some decadent chocolate recipes to indulge in without the guilt! You can even enjoy chocolate in the morning with our Fruity Chocolate Smoothie, a delicious blend of dark chocolate, raspberries, banana and almond milk. For dinner, you’ll definitely want to try our Chipotle Chocolate Rub on chicken — spicy and sweet! Satisfy your sweet tooth with some bite-sized pieces of our Dark Chocolate Bark.
We hope you enjoy these recipes and have a Happy Heart Month!
Fruity Chocolate Smoothie
1 cup plain almond milk
1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup raspberries, frozen
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips or chunks (80% cacao)
Place the first 3 ingredients in a blender and blend through. Mix in the chocolate chips and blend for a short time so the chocolate stays slightly chunky.
Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 125; Total fat: 4g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Total Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 75mg; Total Carbohydrate: 21g; Total fiber: 5g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 2g
Chipotle Chocolate Rub
For meat — serves 6
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp ground espresso
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
Pinch of chipotle chili pepper (or more if you like it very spicy)
6 (4-oz.) chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub evenly onto each chicken breast, coating both sides. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through. Adjust seasoning to your liking.
Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving (with chicken): 175; Total fat: 2.5g; Saturated fat: 0.5g; Total Cholesterol: 66mg; Sodium: 74mg; Total Carbohydrate: 9g; Total fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 26g
Dark Chocolate Bark
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (80% cacao)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in microwave. Mix in all ingredients and pour evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate to harden and break off in chunks to serve.
Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 163; Total fat: 11g; Saturated fat: 3.5g; Total Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 3mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13g; Total fiber: 3g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 2g
Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy nutrition. She is a registered dietitian for BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute (CVI) and sees patients in BIDMC's outpatient nutrition clinic and the CVI's Cardiovascular Health and Lipid Center. Moore received her BS degree in human nutrition from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.