Raw chocolate (cacao) makes an excellent flavoring and superfood boost to many smoothie recipes. It works well with most base fruits such as bananas, mangoes, peaches and pears. It mixes well with most flavor fruits and is a nutritious indulgence to green smoothies.
Raw Chocolate (Cacao/Cocoa) Nutrition and Health Benefits
Antioxidant Powerhouse! Cacao provides a powerful dose of antioxidants including polyphenols, catechins, epicatechins and flavanoids. According to David Wolfe, an expert on raw food nutrition, raw cacao contains more antioxidants by weight than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined.
Vitamins and Minerals. Cacao contains magnesium, iron, chromium, anandamide, theobromine, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, Omega-6 fatty acids, phenethylamine, tryptophan, phosphorus and calcium. Cacao is a good source of healthy fat and contains protein. There are four different varieties of cacao beans (aromica, criollo, forestero and trinitario) which can vary in overall mineral content depending on the plant variety, growing conditions and region. Sunfood brand organic cacao is made from the aromica bean and is very high in iron (314% per serving).
Total Body Wellness. Raw chocolate contains a variety of nutrients which help support the heart, brain, pancreas, liver, skin, digestion, and immune system as well as build stronger bones and healthy blood.
Eat Chocolate, Be Happy! Cacao is a mood-enhancer. Both anandamide (AKA “The Bliss Chemical”) and phenethylamine (AKA “The Love Chemical”) are found abundantly in raw chocolate. Magnesium helps to balance brain chemistry and tryptophan, an essential amino acid, plays an important role in the synthesis of serotonin, which also helps regulate mood and sleep patterns.
How To Use Cacao In Green Smoothie Recipes
By itself, cacao is bitter. If you like extra dark chocolate, you will enjoy the flavor but it can be an acquired taste for some people.
The sweet fruits in the recipes below help sweeten the smoothies. If you find that the cacao is still too bitter, then use less. I encourage people to avoid using any sort of sweetener in a green smoothie.
Cacao is sold as whole beans, nibs (pieces) or powder. Cacao powder is the easiest to use in green smoothies, and all blenders will handle it just fine. You will need a high-powered blender if you wish to use whole beans or nibs. You can also use a coffee grinder to pulverize cacao.
Green Smoothie Recipes with Chocolate (Cacao)
- 1 cup cherries, pits removed
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (I use Navitas Naturals brand)
- 4 to 6 ounces of filter water
Calories: 245 | Fat: 2g (grams) | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 58g | Calcium: 8% | Iron: 3.2mg | Vitamin A: 41% | Vitamin C: 51%
Antioxidant Chocolate With Cherry & Pomegranate
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits!
Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give the cherry its red color. Studies have shown that it is this antioxidant that gives the cherry its anti-inflammatory properties and may help with symptoms of arthritis.
Pomegranate arils are a wonderful addition to this smoothie as they are also loaded with antioxidants an numerous health benefits.
- 1/2 banana, peeled
- 1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 head of butterhead lettuce
- 1 scoop of chocolate-flavored protein powder OR use plain protein powder + 1 tsp. cacao powder
- 8 oz of homemade almond milk
Calories: 355 | Fat: 4g | Protein: 16g | Carbohydrates: 69g | Calcium: 43% | Iron: 3.7mg | Vitamin A: 60% | Vitamin C: 41%
Chocolate-Kiwifruit w/ Mint Tea
If you can overlook the color of this green smoothie, you’ll be treated to a delicious chocolate-kiwi flavor accented with cool mint. Total yum! I love mixing kiwi and cacao, it’s one of my favorite smoothie combinations.
The mint tea lends a wonderful flavor accent. If you can’t find mint tea, you can always use water, and toss in a few fresh mint leaves.
For a “milk shake” consistency, use frozen bananas and slice them before adding them to your smoothie.
- 3 organic kiwifruit, with skin (if non-organic, discard the skin)
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 2 small bananas, peeled
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 8 ounces of chilled mint tea
Directions: The first step to making this green smoothie recipe is to brew some mint tea, then let it chill.
Once your mint tea is ready, pour eight ounces into your blender (see my blender recommendations), followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
Calories: 364 | Fat: 3g | Protein: 9g | Carbohydrates: 85g | Calcium: 15% RDA | Iron: 3.9mg | Vitamin A: 254% RDA | Vitamin C: 302% RDA
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About Tracy & Davy
We created Incredible Smoothies to help people improve their health with green smoothies and a plant-based lifestyle. We also write about entrepreneurship, lifestyle design, and personal development. Read more...