4 Examples of Chocolate Making Food Even... Healthier?

Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

Barely a week goes by without another study touting the health benefits of chocolate--especially the antioxidant-rich dark varieties. Research has shown that it can help reduce high blood pressure, protect cells from age-related damage, help us control our weight, and lower the risk of heart disease and strokes (it can also lift our spirits--but we didn't need science to tell us that).

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With dark chocolate rapidly approaching superfood status, we've been thinking about ways we could use it to sweeten up boring health foods. Fortunately, these companies are one step ahead of us:

Sunsweet PlumSweets
Prunes are loaded with potassium, high in fiber, and, of course, help keep you regular. But for those who still see prunes as a treat only a senior citizen could get excited about, Sunsweet takes chewy prune bites and covers them in dark chocolate. These good-for-your-gut Raisinets are perfect for munching at the movies.

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South Beach Diet Sweet Delights
Tiny sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E, iron, selenium and other important yet underrated minerals. They also have B vitamins and magnesium that have been shown to boost your mood, so when they're enrobed in dark chocolate like they are in these snack packs, they become the ultimate feel-good poppers.

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Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Edamame
Vegetarians with a sweet tooth will love this delightfully unexpected pairing of soybeans and candy. Each serving of about a handful has 7 grams of vegetable protein.

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Rawfully Tempting Gourmet Chocolate-Covered Kale Chips
Kale is having its own moment of fame right now, but of all the ways we've heard of eating the nutritional powerhouse, this version is the most appealingly offbeat. Raw food aficionado Barbara Shevkun coats the crispy leaves in raw chocolate and adds a dash of Himalayan salt. The result is like a chocolate-covered potato chip.

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