4 CHOCOLATE RECIPES
Wouldn’t you love it if we told you don’t have to stop munching on your favorite chocolate?! We all love some chocolaty pleasure every now and then, and now you don’t even have to feel guilty about it as we bring you the ultimate healthy alternative for chocolate–the Dark Chocolate. This chocolate contains 70% cocoa and brings a lot of health benefits as it is loaded with flavonoids. It helps in maintaining cardiovascular health, preventing diabetes, and even lowering the risk of cancer. It is also loaded with antioxidants that make your immune system stronger and prevent premature aging as well. Here are some amazing benefits of dark chocolate:
1. Improves Brain Functioning Research has shown that eating chocolate before your exam helps you perform well. The dark chocolate contains compounds like flavonoids that enhance the blood flow to the brain as it enhances problem-solving skills, reaction time, attention span as well as memory. Chocolate also promotes endorphin production that is known as the ‘feel happy chemical’ as it boots mind and mood.
2. Improves Heart Health Studies have shown dark chocolate aids in blood circulation from and towards the heart because of the high flavonoid content in it. Dark chocolate promotes cardiovascular health by making blood vessels elastic and prevents its stiffening in the long run. Moreover, it prevents blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels and avoids the blockage in vessels that is caused due to buildup.
3. Diabetes Prevention Dark chocolate is great when it comes to diabetes prevention, as well. Inflammation is a major reason and cause of diabetes as it increases insulin resistance with the passage of time. Dark chocolate is helpful in reducing the natural insulin resistance of your body, which contributes in preventing diabetes.
4 .Weight Loss Eating dark chocolate before having your meal is helpful in controlling your portions as it makes you feel satiated for longer. This is because it triggers hormones in the body that make you feel fuller for longer and makes you eat lesser consequently.
5. Cancer Prevention Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids. The flavonoids are known to avert cell damage and also have the capacity to repair the already damaged cells while inhibiting the tumor growth. Georgetown University even conducted research on the Pentamer compound for treating the cancer cells. This compound is found in cocoa of the dark chocolate. In this research, it was found that Pentamer helped in preventing cell division by inhibiting the proteins that is required to divide these cells.
These are the great benefits offered by chocolate, but keep in mind that you have to select the right kind of chocolate to get the maximum benefits, which is the dark chocolate. The regular chocolates contain additional chemicals as well as sugars that are highly processed, which causes the elimination of helpful chemicals. Therefore, go for the dark chocolate as a healthy substitute to avoid sugars and chemicals while banking on its health benefits brought to you by cocoa. Now let's get to the good stuff......My favorite dark chocolate recipes!
Protein Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup water
Dash of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons dairy-free chocolate chips
1. Add the oats, water, sea salt, and cinnamon to a small pot over medium heat.
2. Stir until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Stir in the protein powder.
4. Turn off the heat. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl.
5. Top with chocolate chips, goji berries, almonds, or coconut.
Raw Cacao Pudding
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender.
2. Add the pudding to a serving bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3. Enjoy as is, or top with berries.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
1 pound fresh organic strawberries
9 ounces dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Wash and dry the strawberries well. Be sure to leave the green stems intact, if at all possible.
2. Next, place a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Fill with about 2-inches of water. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low. Place a glass bowl on top of the pot (like a double-boiler).
3. Pour the chocolate chips into the glass bowl. Stir using a rubber spatula until smooth and completely melted.
4. Grab one strawberry by the green stem and dunk into the chocolate about ¾ of the way. Shake off the excess chocolate. Lay the strawberry onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process for all the strawberries.
5. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes about 9 muffins
¼ cup maple syrup OR honey
½ cup dairy-free milk
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup gluten-free flour (recommend Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line your muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
3. Mix the eggs, sweetener of choice, milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
4. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix well.
5. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter between the muffin tins.
6. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Pierce the center with a toothpick to make sure the muffins are done.
7. Let the muffins rest for at least 10 minutes before serving