The amazing health benefits of Chocolate

Easter and chocolate; these days they go hand-in-hand. Long before it was used as a confectionary, chocolate was prized for its amazing health benefits. It comes from the cacao tree Theobroma cacao; theo meaning ‘God’, and broma meaning ‘drink’. Chocolate was quite literally known as the drink of the Gods!

 

In its raw form, cacao, chocolate contains mood-enhancing compounds that release ‘happy’ hormones, and increase feelings of excitement and alertness. Its antioxidant levels are also extremely high, so much so that it is often referred to as a superfood, and studies have shown it to improve brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease.

 

Unfortunately, the chocolate you find in your Easter eggs is not as good for you, as the processing involved in commercial chocolate manufacturing destroys many of these benefits. Far from a superfood, it is classed as a ‘junk’ food due to its high kilojoule content resulting from the large quantities of added sugar.

 

Raw cacao is bitter and therefore not much of a satisfying substitute for you chocolate lovers out there. Fear not, here is my all-time favourite ‘healthy’ chocolate recipe which will allow you to get your chocolate fix along with a heap of antioxidants, beneficial fats, fibre, protein, and minerals. It reminds me of Coconut Rough, but you can adapt this recipe to suit any other flavour you like.

 

‘Healthy’ Chocolate

 

Ingredients:

130g raw almonds

75g raw cashews

250g pitted dates

65g desiccated coconut

25g organic raw cacao powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

20g honey/agave

70 to 80g raw coconut oil (melted)

 

Method:

Grind nuts in blender/coffee grinder and set aside. Blend dates, coconut, cacao, salt, and honey until minced and combined. Add ground nuts and coconut oil; blend until combined. Firmly press mixture into lined tray and score the top into squares with a knife. Chill until set (approx. 10mins in freezer or 30min in fridge). Break into squares and enjoy! (Keep chilled as coconut oil will melt at room temperature).

 

This recipe is incredibly flexible allowing you to swap out ingredients to suit your taste, or for added nutrition. Just aim to keep roughly the same quantities of dry to wet ingredients. For added protein try using a mixture of nuts and seeds, or adding protein powder or chia seeds. For added antioxidants try adding goji berries, acai powder, or freeze-dried berries. Enjoy!

 

If you need help to improve your health naturally, book in for a consultation with Belinda.

 

Photo credit: Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

 

 

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