Valentine's Day isn't really about couples and candy hearts, it's for recognizing all the people you love and showing yourself some, too. And, of course, a little dark chocolate! Here at Blended we love dark chocolate for its surprisingly long list of health benefits.
This V-Day, we've got some chocolaty tips and recipes for you. Did you know that chocolate actually improves your heart health? ♥️
What We Love About Dark Chocolate
Heart health: lowering cholesterol, raising HDL, and protecting LDL from oxidation, cocoa works against and lowers the risk of heart disease & stroke
Brain function: dark chocolate improves blood flow to the brain and and can improve cognitive function in elderly people
Antioxidants: cocoa beans have more antioxidants than most other foods and many fruits
Blood flow & pressure: dark chocolate can improve your blood flow and lower your blood pressure
Mood booster: cocoa stimulates neural activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure, lowering stress and improving your mood
Skin health: the flavanols and nutrients in chocolate improve blood flow and may even protect your skin from the sun
Curbs cravings: consuming healthy dark chocolate can work against cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods
Pro Tips for Choosing Quality Dark Chocolate
2. Limited ingredient list (watch for additives)
3. Cacao is the first ingredient listed
4. Sugar is not the first ingredient listed (the higher the cacao content, the lower the sugar). While a little sugar may be needed to reduce bitterness, sugar should be at the end of the ingredient list.
5. Skip dairy-containing chocolate: check for milk and other dairy products on the ingredient list.
Portioning is still a part of the game, but 2 to 4 squares is usually enough to satisfy taste buds and get the health benefits.
Chocolate Lovers Bowl
1 date, pitted, chipped
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp cacao
1/4 cup chopped cauliflower
1 tbsp vegan protein, vanilla or chocolate (all-natural)
1 cup unsweetened coconut or oat mylk
1/2 cup ice
Optional toppings: raspberries, strawberry slices, unsweetened coconut, no-sugar baked granola, cacao nibs, chia seeds, walnut pieces
1. Blend it up!
2. Serve into bowl and top with 3 or 4 of your favourite toppings and enjoy!
Blended 2 Minute Chocolate Smoothie Bowls
(use Maca Energy, Maca Java, Shroom Energy, or Choco-Banana Hero)
We've already done the work of making sure you’re getting a good level of carbs, protein & healthy fats in each of the blends, so you just need to quick-prep, add the toppings, and get down to enjoying.
Let pack soften partially (so you can just break the smoothie pack in half) & add to blender. Fill the empty pouch about 1/2 way with your preferred liquid (we love coconut, oat & cashew milks), add to blender, blend. Smoothie texture should be thick.
Optional Toppings: walnuts (mood boosting!), cacao nibs, no sugar added baked granola, raspberries, strawberry slices