Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cocoa Roast: Two Great Tastes in One!

I love finding great tasting snack foods that have the added bonus of being healthy. Rare is the day that I can make through the afternoon without a snack. I’ve been getting a little tired of whole grain goldfish crackers or yogurt so I was thrilled to find these cocoa covered almonds aptly named “Cocoa Roast”.  Almonds and other nuts are high in unsaturated fats – that’s the good fat that lowers the bad cholesterol in the blood. Nuts are also an excellent source of magnesium – a nutrient that many of us don’t get enough of.  Diets high in magnesium can lower blood pressure and magnesium is one of the top three minerals in your bones.

Dusting the almonds with cocoa powder adds a delicious burst of chocolate flavor and also phytochemicals called “flavonoids”. Only dark chocolate  high in cocoa content has a lot of these flavonoids - you won’t find much in milk chocolate or “white chocolate”.  Research suggests that diets high flavonoids may lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

So if you like chocolate and almonds –give Cocoa Roasts a try. But be forewarned – portion control is tough. I use the lid of the container as snack bowl to keep my serving small – and yes, sometimes, I fill it up a second time!

Beth Kitchin, MS, RD
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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