With all this holiday chocolate lying about, you may be wondering whether chocolate fits into a healthy fertility diet?
The sweet news: YES, the healthy Fertility Diet I’ve developed for my clients (based on review of years and scads of research) includes chocolate!
The not-so-sweet news: the SUGAR part of the chocolate needs to be given the boot!
The health benefits of dark chocolate and raw cacao beans are due to the minerals and antioxidants these products contain. In fact, raw cocoa beans are one of the richest food sources of magnesium, a mineral that’s essential to 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, helps our muscles relax, and facilitates natural production of our “happy hormone”, serotonin, and our “deep sleep hormone”, melatonin.
Raw cacao is also a rich source of antioxidants. It’s been used traditionally by South American peoples as an energy tonic and aphrodisiac. The antioxidants in cocoa beans are protective to our blood vessels. And who DOESN’T want to enjoy a delicious food that boosts our energy, helps deliver plenty of healthy blood flow to our reproductive organs AND gets us in the mood?? No one. RIGHT!
Make That Chocolate Work for You
The key is to go for as dark a chocolate as possible (i.e. low to no sugar) or – even better from a health perspective – use raw cacao nibs (pieces of cacao beans) or raw cacao powder. Each of these forms of cacao capture the minerals and antioxidants we want in our Fertility Diet.
Note that conventional cocoa powder (i.e. “alkali processed” or “Dutch process”) does not contain high levels of these nutrients because they are stripped away during this kind of processing.
Here are a few delicious ways to integrate chocolate into your Fertility Diet. I created these recipes just for YOU so please let me know how you like them!
Choco-Cherry Superfood Smoothie
Blend until smooth:
1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 3-4 tbsp hemp hearts, 2 tsp raw cacao nibs, 1 tsp chia seed, 1 tsp ground flax seed, 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
Pour into a glass and top with a sprinkle of another 1 tsp cacao nibs for garnish (pictured below).
Makes 2 snack or dessert smoothie servings.
Chocolate Monkey in the Morning Smoothie
Blend until smooth: 1.5 cups almond milk, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 banana, 2 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tbsp raw seeds (e.g. flax, chia or hemp), 1 scoop vanilla or unflavoured protein powder, 1/4 tsp natural vanilla extract, 2 tsp raw honey
Makes 1 meal size or 2 snack size servings.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
This dessert is amazing and 100% guilt-free!
Blend until completely smooth: flesh of 1 mashed, ripe avocado, 1/2 ripe banana, 3 heaping TBSP raw cacao powder, 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract, 3 tsp honey or stevia extract to taste.
Divide into 2 parfait glasses or dessert bowls, garnish with fresh berries, mint leaves or cacao nibs as desired.
Feeling just a little TOO perky? Cacao and chocolate contain caffeine so please enjoy in moderation