Four ways to have your cake and eat it too this Valentine’s Day
Ayurveda and quality chocolate
Ayurveda says that chocolate, when taken mindfully and in moderation, can have tremendous benefits, such as protection against disease and improved brain and heart health. To be clear, we’re advocating for a minimum of 70% pure cacao content as that is when the benefits of chocolate are noticeable. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better.
In honor of Valentine’s Day and all things chocolate, we’re sharing some of our most popular healthy yet decadent HANAH recipes to make for your loved ones. But first, let’s explain the impressive health benefits of chocolate—and how it complements our favorite daily superfood HANAH ONE.
Similarly to the herbs and ingredients in HANAH ONE, the quality of the chocolate you buy really matters. Look for minimally processed dark chocolate that is created from fairly traded or organic cacao beans. Avoid palm, coconut and hydrogenated oils as well as added fats and sugars. Few brands will make the cut, but chocolate is one of life’s little luxuries and it is worth seeking out the very best for your health and enjoyment. And remember, with chocolate, a little goes a long way.
The love drug
According to science, chocolate really can make people happy. Chocolate is rich in the chemical compound phenylethylamine, commonly called the “love drug” since it is responsible for releasing and facilitating dopamine in the brain, which makes us feel happy.
Another chemical found in chocolate is anandamine, which your brain naturally produces. It has been called the “bliss molecule,” named after ananda, the Sanskrit word for bliss or delight. Anandamine activates the dopamine receptors in the brain so that the sense of wellbeing is heightened. Not only that, chocolate also contains ingredients that inhibit anandamine breakdown, so the feel-good boost lasts even longer.
Chocolate is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which affects brain serotonin synthesis. (Yes, we’re talking about the same amino acid in turkey once thought to cause sleepiness.) Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining mood balance, and is a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety chemical.
Ayurveda says chocolate warms the heart and abdomen while stimulating the reproductive organs and relaxing the pelvic muscles.
But that’s not all the love drug is said to do. Read on for a few additional healthy benefits of this superfood:
- Chocolate is off the charts in magnesium and antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from damage.
- Chocolate is full of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect the heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving glucose metabolism and guarding against coronary artery disease.
- Chocolate alleviates chest congestion by improving blood circulation and relaxing bronchial spasms. It reduces cough and was traditionally used to treat fever.
- Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that is both a stimulant and a sedative. A medicinal dose of chocolate will soothe and relax you, while also providing an energy boost.
A dynamic duo
Like HANAH ONE, chocolate also serves as an anupana, or a delivery system for herbs. Mixing herbs like ashwagandha in chocolate and HANAH ONE can be a delicious way to take your supplements to increase their absorption and hide any of the typical strong or bitter flavors.
After reading all the benefits, it’s easy to see why HANAH and chocolate are a perfect match. Read on for a few of our favorite recipes. If you don’t have time to make one today, you can always dip a square of high quality dark chocolate in HANAH ONE for a delicious superfood treat that satisfies cravings and supports your wellbeing.
A generous dose of HANAH ONE nestled into this creamy treat will give you the boost you need to take on the day with ease.
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons HANAH ONE
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 3 teaspoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon warm filtered water
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Set up a heatproof bowl over a pot filled with an inch of water and set on medium-high heat until boiling.
- Remove bowl from heat and add coconut oil and cacao. Mix until combined, making sure cacao is thoroughly combined.
- Now, add remaining ingredients (except HANAH ONE and water) and mix until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a small glass dish (approx. 6”x 4”) lined with parchment paper. For single servings, pour your desired serving size (2-3 tablespoons) into paper-lined cupcake molds.
- Set aside and let settle for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small dish mix HANAH ONE + warm water and stir until combined.
- Using a teaspoon, gently drop dollops of HANAH ONE into the fudge so that it is evenly distributed then swirl into the mixture with a toothpick.
- Freeze for at least an hour and then let sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes until soft enough to slice. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Recipe by Uriell Carlson, RDN, owner, Whole Life Nutrition
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