Mmm, yes please, but maybe not all on the same plate! Although – here is a chocolate and coffee crusted turkey with cranberry I see Aldi in the US does!!!
These three foods can actually be really healthy for you – so don’t just keep them for Christmas!
First, some info from Nutrigold on chocolate – and how good for you it is – IF you get the right stuff, so please do!
Statistics from a British Heart Foundation campaign have revealed just how obsessed we are with chocolate with 36% of the 2,000 adults surveyed admitting to eating chocolate at every meal of the day. Not surprisingly, the British love affair with the sugary foods has mirrored the rise in the number of people being diagnosed as obese, with one in ten children now classed as overweight or obese.
But what if there’s a chocolate treat that we can enjoy and might even impart some health benefits if eaten in moderation?
Dark chocolate and cacao nibs have been shown to be truly healthy forms of chocolate, as long as you pick the low in refined sugar products and stick to 1-2 squares per serving (approx. 10-20g). Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids and polyphenol antioxidants, containing even greater levels than found in red wine or tea. The higher the cacao content, the higher the antioxidant levels and the greater the health benefits – dark chocolate between 70-90% cacao content is the best. You can even use a tablespoon of raw cacao powder or cocoa butter in drinks and smoothies to boost the levels of many essential health-promoting nutrients.
Here are just some health benefits of dark chocolate:
1. Improved heart health: Flavanols, a type of flavonoid, help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain, as well as reduce platelet stickiness and clotting ability, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke. A 2015 study monitoring the health of over 20,000 people over 11 years concluded “there was cumulative evidence to suggest that higher dark chocolate intake is associated with lower risk of future cardiovascular events”.
2. Cocoa butter found in dark chocolate contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats like oleic acid (also found in olive oil). A 2008 study of 28 healthy volunteers found that just one week of eating dark chocolate improved blood lipid profile, including balancing cholesterol levels.
3. Intake of flavonoid-rich foods, including dark chocolate and tea, is associated with improved cognitive performance.
There are of course many other natural foods that are rich in important antioxidant groups like green leafy vegetables and berries, including the frozen variety. Cranberries and apples are particularly high in heart protective flavanols. So pile on the veg, dig into the cranberry sauce and enjoy some dark chocolate (in moderation) with your Christmas dinner this year to help get healthy for 2018.
Alex recently did a great summary of some really good freefrom chocolate sources here, if you need that. Can’t guarantee they are the flavanol-rich types but here they are for you anyway:
Nutrigold also provided this healthier cranberry sauce recipe:
300g frozen or fresh cranberries
400ml pineapple juice
110g apple sauce
320mlcup of water
Juice and zest of one orange
1. Make the apple sauce by stew 3-4 eating apples in a pan with a little water or bake for 30minutes to soften the flesh, then blend till smooth in a blender.
2. Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to burst (about 10-15 minutes).
4. Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture.
5. Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.
6. Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.
This is not as sweet as store versions! It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce.
Enjoy – and remember these foods can be part of a healthy diet ALL year round 🙂