Mother’s Day is celebrated this Sunday in North America, so we congratulate every Saver who is a mother! We hope that you’ll have a wonderful day, whether you’ll spend it with family, friends, or loved ones.
These fun-filled gatherings are great opportunities to share bone-healthy treats. And we’re delighted to share with you two delicious desserts – both containing chocolate – which is a Foundation Food listed in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
Chocolate offers both robust flavor and evidence-backed bone and overall health benefits. Best of all, neither recipe requires baking. Read on to learn about the science behind the health benefits of chocolate and to get your soon-to-be-favorite dessert or snack recipes!
Chocolate Is Good For You (And Your Bones)!
Chocolate contains around 300 known phytochemicals that have myriad beneficial effects on the brain and body. Some, such as theobromine and phenylethylamine, are stimulants that give you increased energy and alertness. Others produce a sense of happiness, such as anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter.
The general health benefits of chocolate include:
- Lowering blood pressure1
- Decreasing anxiety2
- Improved cardiovascular health1
- Healthier skin3
- Weight reduction4
- Improved sleep
- Improved mood5
Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant. In a study measuring how well different foods disarm bone-damaging free-radicals, chocolate outperformed antioxidant-rich ‘super-fruits’ such as blueberries and acai berries. The primary antioxidants in chocolate include:
- Catechins which boost osteoblast activity
- Epicatechins which enhance muscle performance
- Resveratrol which improves balance and motor coordination
Chocolate also contains many bone-building minerals:
Chocolate contains numerous bone-building minerals and powerful antioxidants. Dark chocolate, consumed in moderation, improves cardiovascular health, sleep, blood pressure, anxiety, skin quality, and mood.
How To Choose The Right Chocolate
Chocolate’s many components make it a bone-healthy food, provided you get it in the right form. A good starting place is to avoid milk chocolate and processed chocolate products and candy. Processed chocolate is high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and often artificial flavors and colors.
Instead, reach for organic, dark chocolate that’s minimum 70% cacao with no artificial additives. The closer to sugarless raw cacao, the better!
Chocolate is acidifying, so it’s important to balance it with alkalizing foods. The following recipes are pH-balanced, so you can get all the benefits of chocolate (including guilt-less enjoyment!) without worrying about your bones.
Choose dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) to get the health benefits of chocolate. Eat it only in moderation, balanced with alkalizing foods.
- 3 cups raw cashews, pre-soaked for 3-5 hours
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey (add stevia to taste if necessary)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (see recipe below)
For the filling:
- After soaking cashews, place them in a blender or food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until creamy.
For the crust:
- Place the dates and almonds and sea salt in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to break up the big pieces.
- Blend for 2 to 3 minutes or until finely chopped. This blend should stick together when pressed. Add in a few more dates if mixture is too dry, and blend until well combined.
- Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment paper, then press mixture onto the pan.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust and spread on evenly.
- Spread the chocolate syrup over the top, until evenly distributed and place the sliced strawberries over the chocolate.
- Cover the pan and freeze for 2-3 hours or until mixture is firm. Cut into bars and thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Bars stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or 2-3 weeks in the freezer.
Chocolate syrup recipe:
Servings: 1 Cup
- 1/2 cup cacao powder, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 to1 teaspoon stevia (adjust to taste)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a saucepan mix the cocoa and water over medium-low heat.
- Add in the stevia and whisk the mixture over heat until it reaches the desired consistency, ranging from a thin syrup to a thick, fudge-like texture.
Chocolate Fruit Tart
- 1½ cups dates, pitted
- 1½ cups raw almonds
- ⅓ cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
- 1 cup dark chocolate or cacao powder, chopped into small chunks, or
- 1 large banana, thinly sliced
- 2 pears, peeled and slivered
- ¼ cup raw almonds, slivered
- Lightly oil a or 9″ tart pan or a 14×5″ rectangular pan with coconut oil.
- Blend the dates and almonds until the mixture becomes doughy. Small almond bits are fine.
- Press the almond date dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof container, then heat the almond milk, and pour it over the chocolate. Pour the almond milk over the chocolate, and let sit for a minute or two. Stir until it reaches a smooth texture.
- Spread the chocolate syrup over the crust.
- Place the banana and pear slices over the chocolate and sprinkle the almonds over them.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour before serving.
Don’t Let Healthy Be The Enemy Of Delicious
Healthy food can and should be delicious. If sticking to a dietary plan means that you’re always dreaming of leaving it, then it’s probably not a sustainable life choice. That’s why the Save Institute’s cookbook and meal planner Bone Appetit contains recipes that fit the 80/20 pH-balanced diet without denying you the foods you love.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
So treat your family and friends to some decadent and bone-healthy treats, and don’t be shy about wowing them with your knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating!