Cacao: The World’s Favorite Food

Last week, I listened to a TED Talk by David Wolfe on raw chocolate and the amazing benefits and properties of this fruit. His research and findings have really changed how I view chocolate.

Raw chocolate contains many important minerals and nutrients including:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

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The above nutrients have been linked to a number of health benefits:

  1. Neutralize Free Radicals – High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a build up of free radicals from pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun exposure which can damage healthy body tissue leading to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  2. Improves Digestion – Cacao may help to keep your bowel movements regular. A 1 oz serving of cacao nibs contains 36% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, or 9 grams.
  3. Enhance Physical & Mental Well-Being – Magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium are important for healthy bones and teeth, sulfur for healthy hair and skin, iron for healthy blood, potassium for kidneys, heart, and adrenal glands.
  4. Promote Cardiovascular Function – The antioxidant power of flavanoids and essential minerals found in raw cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, and in turn lowers your risk for a stroke or heart attack.
  5. Lower Blood Pressure & Improve Circulation – The fiber and polyphenols work together to control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
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That’s Bananas!

Today, I want to share with you why bananas are so great for you. At the end, I sneak in my all-time favorite banana recipe. With a creamy and sweet taste and perfect yellow packaging, bananas are a fantastic snack that can be enjoyed all year round. One medium sized banana contains about 105 calories and are a very good source for Vitamin B6, manganese, Vitamin C, Fiber, Potassium, Biotin, and Copper. For a more in-depth nutritional profile of a banana: click here.

Why I love Bananas:

1. They improve your mood – containing high levels of tryptohpan, which converts into serotonin (aka the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter)

2. These bad boys lower your blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke with the high content of potassium and low sodium amounts.

3. Bananas can help you become more “regular.” They contain a soluble fiber called pectin that can help normalize movements through the digestive tract.

4. With 25% of your daily vitamin B6, which allows your body to make nonessential amino acids to create healthy cells.

5. Super versatile and easy to transport. I have included these in all kinds of recipes from smoothies to breads to desserts.

6. Bananas are the perfect fuel for athletes because they provide the carbs that your muscles need and contain antioxidants that help speed up your recovery.

7. They help you feel full longer. The 6 grams of resistant starch in the banana is a carb that resists digestion, functioning like fiber. The greener the banana the more resistant starch it contains.

Yummy Banana Cookies

Ingredients: 3 ripe bananas, 2 cups gluten-free oats, 1 cup dates (pitted and chopped), 1/3 cup apple sauce, & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Feel free to add in 1/4 of walnuts or chocolate chips!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, apple sauce, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated over, or until lightly brown.

 

** If you want your bananas to ripen faster, just put them in a closed paper bag with an apple, pear, or tomato. The more ripe the bananas the sweeter they taste! I know how easy it is to eat these once out of the oven, but try to resist and be careful not to over eat these sweet treats.

Benefits of Soaking Almonds

Always soak your nuts! Soaking helps deactivate inhibitor enzymes so that nutrients are more readily available to the body and less acid forming. The peel can also be irritating on the stomach lining for some people, and without it the nuts are much easier to digest.  Almonds are high in oil, fatty acids, protein, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, & vitamins B and E.
Incredible benefits of ALMONDS:

  • aphrodisiac
  • stimulate energy
  • high fiber
  • general laxative
  • muscle relaxant
  • lower cholesterol
  • nourish your nervous system
  • boost brain activity
  • high quality protein

TO SOAK:  Measure 1/4 cup of almonds and place them in a glass jar or bowl. Then, I cover the nuts with water, and cover the bowl with a plate or lid. In the morning or at least 7 hours later you can begin to peel the skins right off the almond. It can be a little tedious, but you are doing your body a huge favor-trust me!  All nuts have different soaking time, but the process is generally the same.

SOAK TIME:

Almonds, Peanuts, Pine Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, & Hazelnuts: at least 7 hours or overnight

Cashews: 6 hours, no longer!

If you plan to make more than one serving, be sure to store these bad boys in the fridge, but not for more than a week because they will go bad.