‘Tis the season to be joyful!! And my Chocolate Cherry Delight Smoothie Bowl Recipe is going to help you feel happier! (Even with the stress from traveling and shopping and relatives and all!). That’s because this bowl contains a “bliss chemical” found in cacao. That’s right…in addition to adding joy into your day, you will be getting the added benefits of reducing belly fat and encouraging beauty sleep. Yee haw!
Let’s find out, by starting with…
Beauty Chocolate: Cacao
Chocolate is so friggin good, and many of us are life-long chocolate lovers, including yours truly. But why does it makes us feel sooo happy when we eat it? There’s actually science to it. It contains the neurotransmitter anandamide (known as the “bliss chemical”). In Sanskrit, ananda means bliss.
Cacao also contains anandamide inhibitors—keeping the compound from breaking down quickly and the feeling of cacao anadamide lasting longer—so we feel great longer. Sometimes more of a good thing…
Cacao beans are the base of all chocolate, a well-known natural aphrodisiac that contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the same hormone your body releases during those more intimate times. 🙂
The Incas considered a cacao-based drink the drink of gods—an association that gave rise to the scientific name of the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao, from the Greek words theo (god) and broma (drink). No wonder why, since this powerful super food improves your memory, sheds fat, boosts immunity, and create loads of energy!
Raw cacao also contains nearly four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries!
Cacao Vs Cocoa
When it comes to purchasing, some of you may be tempted to use cocoa powder (being that it’s cheaper), rather than cacao powder. I say you are worth getting the good stuff, whenever possible!
Both powders come from the same original source—the Theobroma cacao tree—how it’s processed is what makes the difference. Cocoa can be used sometimes, when sourcing is an issue, but it may contain added sugar or other sweeteners.
Cacao is the raw form of the cacao bean, which is less processed—having more powerful antioxidant effects and health benefits.
100 grams of raw cacao powder has an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 95,500, then dropping to 62,100 for cacao nibs, and 26,000 for cocoa powder.
You may choose to purchase cacao at any health food store, or find some great online sites where you can buy it raw, organic and in bulk.
Just note, that cacao has plenty of flavor so you don’t need to add much more to this smoothie bowl (except maybe a date or two to sweeten it up).
Just remember that cacao contains the stimulants of caffeine and has theobromine, even when labeled as “raw” (so avoid binging on this!). So we can enjoy it, but just keep that in mind! It’s all balance though. I eat quite a bit of chocolate, but I don’t drink coffee, so I feel that it balance for me :).
Beautifying Fruit: Cherries
Did you know that lowering our bodies’ temperature helps to a good nights rest? Simple but powerful! And cherries are one of nature’s few sources of melatonin (a hormone), that helps in putting us in a restful state.
As for the dreaded belly fat, research has found that whole tart cherry powder helped prevent weight gain and body fat. Pretty amazing for any of us that want to avoid that extra fat that creeps up on us !
Another area in which cherries will benefit us is in slowing down the aging process. This is because cherries contain high levels of antioxidants—helping our bodies fight free radicals that make us feel and look worn out. Ugh!
When Purchasing Cherries
When heading to your local farmers market, remember that there are higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries, but is contained in all of them . This is important, because sweet cherries are mostly the ones we like to eat!
With all this talk about gaining better sleep, reducing belly fat, and slowing down the age process, you can see why I consider cherries to be one of my favorite beautifying fruits.
Add potassium-packed banana, and antioxidant-fighting spinach, and your body will get wonderful benefits from this power-packed smoothie bowl!
Add the unsweetened almond milk into your high powered blender.
Add the banana.
Add the cherries.
Add the spinach.
Add the cacao powder and blend all ingredients together until you get a smooth mixture.
Top with the cherries, mint leaves and carob chips, and serve. Enjoy!