Monthly Archives: September 2017

Beyond Chocolate: How Cocoa Flavanols Support Health

This was written as part of my paid role in partnership with CocoaVia® cocoa extract supplement. All opinions expressed are my own.

You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate has potential health benefits, but chocolate itself is not a health food.

cocoa beans


The perks of eating chocolate on a regular basis – besides it’s great taste – has less to do with the darkness of the chocolate and more to do with the level of cocoa flavanols it provides.

The what?

Cocoa flavanols are beneficial phytonutrients found only in plants. Cocoa contains a unique blend of flavanols that’s unmatched by any other food on the planet. Cocoa flavanols work with your body to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide, which helps maintain the flow of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body, supporting overall health.

So, if you’re eating chocolate to improve your well-being, what you’re really after is the cocoa flavanols in great enough amounts to produce results. But in traditional cocoa processing, which includes fermenting, drying and roasting of beans, many of the flavanols that are naturally present in the cocoa bean are destroyed.

I was a bit surprised to find out that unsweetened cocoa powder, which I have been adding to yogurt, smoothies, and oatmeal for years, actually has varying flavanol levels, and that flavanol levels are not listed on the food label so there is no guarantee that they are present in beneficial amounts.

How Many Flavanols For You?

The concentrated cocoa extract in CocoaVia® supplement is made using their patented Cocoapro® process, providing 375 milligrams of cocoa flavanols per serving, which is found in one CocoaVia® stick pack or three CocoaVia® capsules. CocoaVia® supplement supplies the greatest concentration of cocoa flavanols of any cocoa extract supplement today, and numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that these flavanols promote healthy blood flow from head to toe.*

CocoaVia® powdered stick packs can easily be added to milk, hot or cold coffee, juice, sports drinks, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and iced tea, or used in a variety of recipes.

Right now, I am loving Chilled CocoaVia® Mocha!

Do you use CocoaVia® supplement? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

I love coffee-shop donuts as much as the next person, and maybe more. I don’t eat them very often because while they taste good going down, donuts usually bother my stomach afterwards. When I crave a hunk of sugary fried dough, I turn to baked Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts instead because they offer way more – and far less – than typical coffee shop choices.

maple walnut pumpkin donuts

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts are a better choice for donut-lovers.

Maple pumpkin donuts with nuts are healthier

Donuts, including all the variations on pumpkin and maple offered at supermarkets, convenience stores, and coffee shops, supply little in the way of nutrition. Most store-bought donuts are fried, which jacks up the calorie and fat content.

Here’s how one of my maple walnut pumpkin donuts stacks up to a vanilla frosted donut (the closest I could find to my donut for the sake of comparison) from a national coffee shop chain.

My better-for-you version has:

• 212 calories versus 270 calories in the commercial donut.

• 1/3 the saturated fat.

• 3 times the dietary fiber, thanks to whole wheat flour and canned pumpkin puree

• 64% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, primarily from pumpkin.

• Nearly 900 milligrams of potassium, about 20% to 30% of what most adults need for the entire day, largely from the pumpkin.

•1 serving of whole grains (Experts recommend at least 3 servings of whole grains daily.)

Donuts are not generally known for their health benefits, but this recipe is different.  It’s good to know that you’re getting so much in the way of nutrition along with great taste.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

These baked maple walnut pumpkin donuts are delicious and nutritious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: donutswithnuts, healthydonuts, maplewalnut, pumpkindonuts
Servings: 12
Calories: 212kcal
Author: ewardrd


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat two standard donut pans with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, and add the pumpkin, 1/2 cup of the maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Mix until well combined.
  • Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Spoon the batter into the donut pans, filling to about 1/4″ shy of the rim, and making sure the center post is clear.
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove donuts from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove donuts from pan and cool further.
  • To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and the milk and stir until smooth. Frost each donut and top with chopped walnuts.
    NOTE: For less added sugar, omit the glaze, and add the walnuts to the batter. If desired, coat warm donuts in maple sugar or a sugar-cinnamon mixture.


Per donut: 212 calories; 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat); 36 milligrams cholesterol; 220 milligrams sodium; 35 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 5 grams protein
maple walnut pumpkin donuts on a wire rack.

For less added sugar, skip the glaze and add the nuts to the donut batter.

Can’t get enough pumpkin? Try this Pumpkin Spice Smoothie and these Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour.

maple walnut pumpkin donuts pinterest

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