Sunday, May 6, 2012
Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Ok. This is so cool. I just discovered a few weeks ago that apparently Mason jars used to be included in the box when you bought a blender...and most blenders are still compatible with most Mason jars. So, basically, you can screw your blender blade right onto a Mason jar, blend up your smoothie, unscrew the blade, screw on your lid and presto! Smoothie to go. So. Cool. Also, if you have some leftover, just stick it in the freezer and when you're ready for a smoothie, let it thaw out just enough to stir it up again.
So now that you have that handy little tidbit, you should try it out with this a-mazing Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe! My friends, it is so good. My favorite smoothie recipe so far. It's naturally sweet, with all the sweetness coming solely from the fruit and the dark chocolate. It's packed with antioxidants and vitamins and so much flavor! The coconut oil adds in healthy fats and the frozen yogurt and milk lend a kick of calcium and a lovely bit of frosty creaminess...and have I mentioned the flavor? Sometimes I feel like smoothies are a bit on the bland side, but it's not a problem with one!
Just the other day I finally summoned up the nerve to try a "green smoothie." Meaning, a smoothie made with spinach (or other greens.) I was quite skeptical, but everyone says you can't taste it, so we decided to give it a go- since it's so healthy. Anyway, much to my surprise, you really couldn't taste it much at all! Perhaps a hint now and then, but really, not bad. I think the recipe would be a great candidate for a green smoothie. All you'd have to do is throw in a couple handfuls of spinach. Super health snack!
Berries- These flavor packed fruits are also packed with heart-healthy benefits! Folate, fiber, and phytochemicals all may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Bursting with antioxidents and vitamin C, they help reduce free radicals as well as boost your immune system. Ellagic acid and kaempferol help inactivate carcinogens, and quercetin helps protect the heart against disease.
Cherries- High in heart helpful phytochemicals and carcinogenic fighting chlorogenic acid, cherries also contain anthocyanins which may reduce bad cholesterol oxidation. Rutin helps maintain healthy blood vessels, and may enhance vitamin C. Cherries have especially high levels of quercetin, which may help reduce the risk for coronary disease.
Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/latest-studies-on-coconut-oil http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article10132.htm)
Dark Chocolate – studies show that small amounts of dark chocolate each day may help lower the levels of C-reactive proteins in your blood, helping to reduce the inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
Yogurt- While dairy isn't specifically targeted as a heart healthy food, poor dental health is thought to be linked to heart disease. The high calcium and phosphorus contents of dairy foods are helpful in the forming of strong bones and teeth. Dairy also has numerous other health benefits, which may have some bearing on heart health. Potassium may help lower blood pressure and stroke risk, riboflavin maintains healthy red blood cells, and vitamin B12 is important for red blood cell production. Probiotics, specifically found in yogurts (although only those with "live and active cultures") are especially beneficial for the immune system.
Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You, The Reader's Digest Association
Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
makes 3-4 servings
2/3 cup frozen bing/dark/sweet cherries
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen yogurt cubes (I freeze mine in ice cube trays and keep them in a bag just for smoothies)
1/4 milk (as needed)
2-3 Tbs coconut oil
3-4 Tbs dark chocolate, chopped (or chips)
Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time to avoid burning. Add oil/chocolate and milk to the blender and blend until completely smooth. This step is important to emulsify the chocolate/oil and keep it from clumping when you add the cold stuff. Now toss in the fruit and yogurt and blend until smooth. Add milk as needed to thin. Now sip, sigh, and smile. :)