Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keep Calm and Eat a Piece of Dark Chocolate

A new study from the Swinburne University of Technology found that eating dark chocolate could calm you down. How? Apparently, it all has to do with antioxidant-rich, Polyphenols. Found naturally in dark chocolate, polyphenols respond to brain receptors associated with anxiety. Even more interesting, common anxiety medications and polyphenols may work through a similar biological system to target anxiety receptors, according to the study.

Looking for more reasons to up your antioxidant intake and enjoy more dark chocolate? Here are 3 (as if you need any):

·         According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidant in the diet.” Their total dietary intake makes their antioxidant rate 10 times higher than the intake of vitamin C and 100 times higher than the intake of vitamin E.

·         Dark chocolate is versatile. You can enjoy it in a traditional bar, or melted and poured over your favorite sweets. For just a hint of something sweet, dark chocolate also tastes great added to granola, yogurt or cereal.

·         Because of is high pure cocoa content, dark chocolate contains a greater percentage of powerful polyphenols. So, look at the cocoa percentages in your favorite dark chocolate, ideally 60% or higher.

Now, next time you satisfy your chocolate craving, reach for dark chocolate and you could feel more relaxed while boosting your antioxidant intake. It’s good for you!

5 Replacements for Your Favorite Dairy-Based Foods

Many baked goods, sweets and snacks are made using traditional dairy products. However, this can be a problem for people suffering from food allergies. Whether you’re interested in finding ways to work with a food allergy or you simply want to modify your diet, there are many dairy-free and egg-free options to help you still enjoy your favorite foods.

Ice Cream: A delicious dessert favorite packed with milk and cream.
What to use instead: Any “vegan” marked ice cream. Coconut milk is often a tasty substitute for milk in ice cream. Also try all natural fruit sorbet to pacify your sweet tooth.
Butter: Used as a staple for many baked goods and desserts.
What to use instead: Vegan margarine. Look for brands that are whey, lactose, casein and caseinate free.

Milk: Popular in baked goods, desserts, chocolate, cereals or granola, or alone.
What to use instead: Soymilk, almond milk or rice milk are easily found at most grocery stores. Look for items that are made with these cow’s milk substitutes or are labeled vegan or lactose free.

Cheese: Often used in casseroles, on pizza, sprinkled on top of meals, used as a spread, or eaten alone.
What to use instead: Look for alternative cheese products made with vegetable oil, nutritional yeast or soy protein that mimic traditional cheese. Avoid products with casein or caseinate.

Yogurt: A healthy snack on the go or a creamy additive in different recipes.
What to use instead: Soy yogurt, rice yogurt or coconut milk yogurt.

Ultimately, a good rule of thumb in finding delicious milk-free substitutes is to look for any label that states it is 100% vegan. Enjoy making your favorite meals dairy-free!

What is your favorite dairy-free product (besides our chocolate of course!)?