I was born with a love for chocolate. A strong, deep down love. It soothes a part of my soul that is very hard to reach. When I started to change my diet to follow a healthier guideline, I was THRILLED to discover that chocolate can still be incorporated into my day!
Dark Chocolate is approved on most diet plans. I love to end my day with a little nibble of 60% (or more) cocoa dark chocolate. Even though dark chocolate is diet approved, the calorie content can still get a little high, so I started searching for an alternative.
That’s when I discovered just plain old cocoa powder and started adding it to my coffee and smoothies. Or now I’ll end my evening with a good ol’ fashion mug of steamy hot chocolate.
What can Cocoa do for you?
Harvard Researchers have released their analysis from 21 studies where the participants who consumed cocoa regularly showed improved blood vessel health, a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in cholesterol levels. This is believed to be in thanks to due cocoa’s high content of flavonoids.
Cocoa contains polyphenolic flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits, veggies, wine, coffee and tea. Cocoa is so packed with this rich nutrient that researchers at Cornell University have found that 2 tbsp of cocoa powder contains nearly three times more antioxidants then a cup of green tea.
Flavonoids found in cocoa are believed to not only help with heart disease but they also reduce risk factors for diabetes and cancer (especially colon cancer). Research has shown that those who consume cocoa regularly have less than 10% chance of having a stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes. PLUS, flavonoids help our skin look good!
Magnesium is another key nutrient in cocoa, which will benefit you in the bathroom. It helps to promote digestion and will keep you regular, avoiding constipation. Ladies, the high magnesium also helps relieve the dreaded pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS). Another benefit of the magnesium is its ability to reduce risks with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Cocoa has been found to help reduce inflammation. It’s also found that it helps soothe problems with the trigeminal nerve, which helps with migraines and issues with the temporomandibular joint.
If you’re a nursing mother, cocoa increases your milk supply. It has also been shown to increase libido.
Best of all, cocoa contains phenylethylamines, which is a mood enhancer. Cocoa is a powerful tool in the battle of depression. It helps reduce stress hormones and lifts spirits.
Make a smoothie with Cocoa today!
Cocoa Crush Smoothie
- 1 cup milk (soymilk or almond milk work too)
- 6 oz non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1cup frozen blueberries
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 TBSP Cocoa
Add liquids to blender, followed by the fruits. Blend together and enjoy!
I’m always looking for new smoothie recipes to try with Cocoa. Please leave me a comment below with yours!