Yum. Today’s smoothie is packed with a ton of health benefits and anti-oxidants from the mix of berries and raw cacao powder. Cranberries are highlighted in this smoothie, not only are they in season and deliciously tart, they contain loads of detoxifying properties!
Super Antioxidant Berry and Cacao Smoothie
3/4 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1/4 avocado, optional (I included to add more protein and healthy fat, also helps to keep you fuller, longer)
1 slice green apple, optional
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbs raw, organic cacao powder (or more to taste)
Cranberries – they contain one of the highest count of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain high amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients give cranberries their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, In fact, cranberries have been shown to provide crucial anti-inflammatory benefits for the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon). Cranberries help to balance out the good and bad bacteria in our stomach and are proven to reduce the risk of urinary track infections (because they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which fight certain ‘bad’ bacteria, including E.coli). They help to keep the kidney functioning well and flush out unwanted waste and bacteria.
Raw Cacao Powder – (another superfood!) is high in magnesium and iron content, and contains other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. It is loaded with antioxidants, protecting and neutralizing against free radicals and contains heart-healthy fat oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Cacao improves digestion, stimulating the body’s production of digestive enzymes, helping with elimination (essential for a detox).
Certain components of cacao powder help to stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels, causing you to experience elevated energy boosts. Also, certain chemicals, referred to as “bliss” chemicals, improve circulation, increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to improve mood and fight depression.
Berries – in general berries contain the highest amount of antioxidants of fruits. Specifically blueberries and cranberries. They contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, as well cancer fighting components. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber, which as we know is great for eliminating during a detox. The high fiber and other components of berries help cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels of cholesterol.
Who knew raw cacao and the taste of chocolaty goodness had so many amazing health benefits. Add it to smoothies and desserts for the added health benefits and decadent taste.