Guess what? It’s good to have that chocolate craving! Because as it turns out, dark chocolate actually has a ton of health benefits. The botanical name for cacao literally means “food of the gods” for its richness as well as nutrition. Dark chocolate used to be the only form of chocolate available. Now chocolate is mass-produced with extra sugars and milk was added. However, pure dark chocolate or cocoa is still sold in stores. Chocolate was developed around 3,000 years ago in Central America. The Mayans would make bitter, dark chocolate beverages for ceremonial and medicinal purposes. Cocoa was very important in the Mayan culture of Central America and was enjoyed in a frothy combination with chili peppers, honey, and water.
The Mayans knew what they were doing because dark chocolate can positively affect one’s health and wellness. Cocoa is rich in flavanols that protect your heart and also reduce your risk of diabetes1.1 Dark chocolate also is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus making it very nutritious1.1 It also could improve brain function! One study showed that eating cocoa multiple days in a row improved blood flow to the brain2. And if you ever feeling down or sad, reach for the dark chocolate. Studies show that those who ate dark chocolate exhibited less depression3. So follow the influences of Central America and eat dark chocolate for these health benefits. Try making this super healthy and tasty dark chocolate pudding recipe below:
Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding
In a blender or food processor combine:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 avocado (peeled and pitted)
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Optional: 1 packet Truvia or Stevia for sweetness
- Optional: Caco Nibs for topping
Let it Set!
Let chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before consuming. Can store in airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Dark Chocolate. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/
- Francis, S. T., Head, K., Morris, P. G., & Macdonald, I. A. (2006). The Effect of Flavanol-rich Cocoa on the fMRI Response to a Cognitive Task in Healthy Young People. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 47(Supplement 2). doi:10.1097/00005344-200606001-00018
- Jackson, SE, et al. (2019, August 6). Eating dark chocolate may reduce depression risk. Depress Anxiety. doi:10.1002/da.22950