3 Dark Chocolate Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

3 Healthy Cacao Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

Boasting the highest antioxidant density in any food in existence, dark chocolate is an absolute superfood. But, frankly, do you really need reasons to eat dark chocolate?

When it comes to health-conscious and clean eating, the rule of thumb seems to be that the healthier the food — think kale, spinach, Swiss chard — the less tasty it is.

Luckily there’s a surprising superfood that dispels that myth. Enters chocolate. Dark chocolate with a 80%-85% cacao content, to be exact. Believe it or not, dark chocolate is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.

How that is? Well first and foremost, it is packed with vital minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, selenium and iron.

But it’s health benefits do not stop here. What makes dark chocolate a shining star in the healthy foods hall of fame is its unique antioxidant content. 

Studies found that raw, unprocessed cacao beans outperform even proven superfoods like acai berries, pomegranates and blueberries in terms of their polyphenol and flavonol (antioxidant) contents.

This matters because dark chocolate's antioxidants have fascinating health benefits for brain, skin and heart, as they: 

  • improve the blood flow to your brain, boosting your attention for up to two to three hours after consumption.

  • protect your skin from cell damage and aging

  • shield your heart from bad cholesterols clogging up arteries, reducing the risk of dying from heart disease (still the leading cause of death world-wide!) by a whopping 50%.

But, frankly speaking, do we really have to convince you to eat dark chocolate?

Probably not! Though, there are a few things you need to know before you go on a chocolate splurge. 

 
3 Healthy Cacao Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

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Cacao vs. Cocoa – Making Healthy Choices

There is cacao and cocoa. Both are derived from the same tree (Theobroma Cacao Tree), then fermented and dried. But what happens during the processing phase results in stark differences in nutritional value and health benefits. 

Cacao remains raw. Cocoa gets roasted. The roasting impacts the nutritional richness of the cocoa. It loses a significant amount of its minerals (iron, magnesium), vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.

So, if you are looking for the nutritional value and full gamut of health benefits that the superfood cacao has to offer, you may want to go for raw cacao. The healthiest options available are raw cacao nibs or raw cacao powder.

On its own raw cacao tastes a bit bitter, but in a smoothie mixed with the natural sweetness of fruit, it adds a rich and creamy taste to your drink. 

That said, you do pay a premium for raw cacao nibs or powder. Which is one of the reasons why cocoa powder is so popular. It is more affordable. But if you can find a version that meets the requirements below, it’ll be a nice runner up to raw cacao: 

  • contains at least 80%, better even 85% cacao (the higher the cacao content, the higher its antioxidant power and the lower its sugar contents)

  • has cacao listed as first ingredient (and not sugar!)

  • is made of as few ingredients as possible (meaning it is less processed). High-quality dark chocolate can do without milk and lecithin and should definitely not contain any hydrogenated oil (trans fats) or alkali processing (dutching).

  • is organic (meaning less pesticides).

Now, whichever form of cacao you opt for in your healthy dark chocolate smoothie, they work interchangeably in all our recipes below. 

That said, without further ado, we present the 3 dark chocolate smoothie recipes for brain, skin and heart you have been waiting for.

3 Healthy Cacao Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

Dark Chocolate Smoothie Recipe – For Brain

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

• 1 cup of spinach

• 1 cup unsweetened almond (or cashew) milk

• 1/2 cup blueberries

• 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

• 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or powder or cocoa powder or 2 pieces of dark chocolate (80% cacao or higher)

• 2-3 pitted dates

• 3 ice cubes

What's in there for you?

If you need to be sharp — be it for an exam, a presentation or an interview — this dark chocolate smoothie will help power up your cognitive abilities. It combines some of the healthiest, 100% natural brain foods in one mouth-watering, yet healthy smoothie.

For starters, spinach is a full of good-for-your-brain-vitamins-and-minerals, including vitamins E and K, calcium, B vitamin folate, iron and potassium. 

Iron supports the production of red blood cells, which act as the main carriers of oxygen to cells and muscles throughout your body, including to your brain. 

In conjunction with high-flavonoid dark chocolate, iron improves the blood low to your brain as well as your ability to focus for the next 2-3 hours.

Both spinach and dark chocolate contain potassium, which promotes nerve signals and electrical conductivity, supporting your brain's neurons in transmitting up to 1,000 nerve impulses per second.

Blueberries are low-calorie, high-fiber, vitamin C and antioxidant-packed —  consumed regularly, their flavonoids are known for slowing down memory decline by up to 2.5 years in old age. 

To top it all off, let's add an absolute brain power food: chia seeds. What makes them the perfect brain food is their potent magnesium contents. Your nervous system heavily relies on magnesium to transmit messages all throughout your brain. Magnesium also sharpens the brain's plasticity, strengthening its ability to adapt and learn.

Instructions

Pour almond milk into the blender. Add in the chia seeds and let them sit while rinsing and chopping the spinach. Now, add everything else (spinach, blueberries, dates, dark chocolate). For a thicker consistency, add a couple of ice cubes. Blend well until smooth. Serve immediately.

3 Healthy Cacao Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

Dark Chocolate Smoothie Recipe – For Skin

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cup kale

  • 1/2 zucchini

  • 1/2 medium mango

  • 1 cup cashew milk (unsweetened)

  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or powder or cocoa powder or 2 pieces of dark chocolate (80% cacao or higher)

What's In There For You?

If you are tired of waking up with bad skin in the morning, this 100% natural skin care smoothie might be right up your alley. Mango is a sweet treat, both for your palate and skin. One cup of mango meets 100% of your body's daily vitamin C requirements. 

And vitamin C is one of the best vitamins for skin as it stimulates your cells' production of collagen — the main structural protein in charge of strong, elastic and springy skin. 

Add kale, one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and you’ve got your daily vitamin A requirements covered with half a cup as well. Why vitamin A? Because it helps prevent wrinkle formation and gives your skin a healthy and glowing look.

Now, let's nurture and replenish your skin from the inside, with the precious moisture and hydration provided by raw cacao. Raw cacao's superfood properties include its wealth in antioxidants, iron, vitamins A, B1, C, E and D. 

Plus, let's not forget that raw cacao’s polyphenols are known for lightening your mood and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

How is that good for your skin? By reducing stress hormone levels, raw cacao also tackles one of the main causes of acne (stress) and prevents stress-induced losses of collagen, keeping your skin firm and strong.

Finally, both zucchini and yogurt moisturize your skin from the inside out, slowing down the signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.

Ready for some skin glow?

Instructions

Throw all ingredients into your high-performance blender. Blend until smooth.



3 Healthy Cacao Smoothie Recipes (For Brain, Skin and Heart)

Dark Chocolate Smoothie Recipe – For Heart

Ingredients

• 1 cup spinach

• 1/2 avocado

• 1/2 cup raspberries

• 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

• 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

• 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or powder or cocoa powder or 2 pieces of dark chocolate (80% cacao or higher)

What's in there for you?

You have every right to get excited as this dark chocolate smoothie contains 5 out of the top 10 heart-health foods in existence!

A vitamin K-packed base of leafy greens (spinach) shields your arteries and heart from blood clotting. More than that, spinach's heart-healthy dietary nitrates are known for regulating blood pressure and increasing arteries' elasticity.

Now enters another health food must-have: avocado. It contains Vitamins C, E, K, B5, B6 and folic acid. It also has powerful antioxidants and high mineral content (manganese, copper, magnesium and potassium).

On top of all that, avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats which, in a varied diet of vegetables and fruits, are associated with good heart health.

Good heart health is oftentimes compromised by chronic inflammation and oxidative stresses. Raspberries are loaded with anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that undoes the cell-corroding effects of oxidative stress and inflammation.

Now, don’t forget to add super healthy flax seeds which are not only rich in fiber and proteins, but also in Omega-3, an essential fat proven to reduce inflammation.

Raw cacao helps neutralize bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing the amounts of LDL clogging up your arteries which contributes to lowering your risk of dying from heart disease by a whopping 50%. Go ca-ca-o!

Et voilà, that completes your perfectly heart-healthy dark chocolate smoothie, enjoy!

Instructions

Throw all ingredients into your high-performance blender. Blend until smooth.