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The Anti-Aging Diet

Five superfoods that will keep you looking and feeling young.

By Karen Ansel, RD

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Chocolate
Levi Brown
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Age-Defying Food: Chocolate

How it keeps you young: Dark chocolate doesn't just satisfy that intense craving that so many of us have, it also lowers blood pressure. That's heart-healthy news since blood pressure typically rises as you get older, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. Lucky for your waistline you don't need much chocolate to benefit from its blood pressure-lowering effects. German researchers recently found that just a quarter of an ounce of dark chocolate per day (the amount in one-seventh of most chocolate bars) trimmed two to three points off hypertensive patients' blood pressure. The reason? Cocoa is rich in flavonols, potent plant chemicals that encourage blood vessels to relax, keeping them youthful, supple and pliable.


Use it in: Peanutty Microwave S'mores

Break a graham cracker board in half and then spread one of the squares with 1 teaspoon smooth peanut butter. Top with 1 miniature dark chocolate bar and 10 mini marshmallows. Cover with the remaining graham cracker square and microwave the sandwich just until chocolate and marshmallows are melted (about 30 seconds in most microwaves). Serves 1. 151 calories; 6g fat (2g sat.).


More chocolate ideas:

* Stir a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder into your morning coffee.

* Sprinkle mini chocolate chips into whole-grain pancake batter for a super Saturday morning treat.

* Top your enchilada, taco, or tamale with cocoa-rich mole sauce.


Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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