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Chocolate, Olive Oil, Almonds, and the Heart

In a study published in 2011, chocolate intake was inversely associated with coronary heart disease (See HC 111032-421), with additional analysis published later in 2011 (See HC 121122-444). Research has also shown that the phenolic compounds in olive oil may have health benefits for the heart (See HC 100262-323). Other studies have demonstrated almond's ability to help lower cholesterol thereby aiding in the protection against coronary heart disease (See HC 050181-353). In 2011, at least two olive oil companies introduced a chocolate olive oil, combining two of these heart-healthy foods. Below is a recipe that combines all three.

Cocoa Almond Olive Oil Cake

1½ cups almond meal

¾ cup cocoa

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 eggs

½ cup yogurt

1 cup olive oil

¾ cup honey

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ cups fresh berries (or 1 bag frozen berries) or ½ jar all fruit spread

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil (Note: Almond meal behaves differently from regular flour, so pan should be well greased). In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, and then add each liquid ingredient individually, mixing each as added. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix well. Mix in fruit or fruit spread. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool completely before removing from pan.

Lori Glenn,  Managing Editor