I love to love dark chocolate.
It’s sinfully delicious but also one of our most potent health foods.
Have you heard the story of how we figured out dark chocolate was so incredibly healthy? In the late 90’s researchers wondered why an island off the coast of Panama had so little heart disease (while Panama itself had lots of heart disease). They went to the island to find out and discovered that people there were drinking many cups of a beverage made out of the cacao plant. (Cacao is what is used to make chocolate.)
They brought samples home to study and discovered that cacao was extremely high in flavanols and antioxidants, which protect against heart disease.
Since then countless scientific studies have been conducted on cacao and chocolate and have shown that cacao can dramatically support heart health, improve athletic performance and can even slow dementia. Just to name a few!
“Study after study shows that cocoa flavanols can disarm cell damaging free radicals, preserve cell membranes, protect DNA, prevent the formation of artery clogging plaque, improve blood flow to the heart, lower high blood pressure, and prevent blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke.”
Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD
But hold on…
Before you reach for that hershey’s kiss there’s something else you’ve got to know.
Our modern day popular chocolate candies are not healthy.
They have too much sugar, too much milk (which interferes with the benefits of cacao) and not nearly enough cacao.
The best way to consume chocolate for your health is to eat dark chocolate that is at least 70%.
If you don’t like dark chocolates I recommend slowly starting to increase the percentage on your chocolate bars. I used to not like dark chocolate myself and now I don’t like anything less than 85%.
I had a taste of a gourmet 65% chocolate bar the other day and thought it was gross. Dark chocolate may be a preferred taste, but once you prefer it there is no going back!
Another important consideration for indulging in chocolate is where it came from. Be sure to buy not only organic chocolate, but also fair trade chocolate.
Cardamom, a delicious spice!
The chocolate cake recipe below also includes another one of my very favorite spices.
Cardamom has a unique and provocative flavor that is unlike any other spice. I love cooking cardamom into our savory dishes, in desserts and even in teas and coffee.
Cardamom isn’t just for the taste buds, however. It is a carminative herb that can help with a variety of digestive complaints, from slow digestion to cramps and even bad breath. Its constituent, cineole, has been found to have powerful anti-asthmatic compounds. Like cacao, cardamom has been shown to have a multitude of heart health benefits as well.
Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake
The following recipe is a delicious pairing of cardamom and cacao. To make this recipe you begin by making chocolate from cacao butter and cacao powder. This ensures you’ve got really dark and rich chocolate with all of those healthy benefits.
We’ve made this recipe countless times in the past year and have taken it to many potlucks and dinner gatherings. Each time we have a list of people who desperately want the recipe.
What you’ll need…
- 130 grams of cacao butter
- 90 grams of sifted cacao powder (plus a bit more for decoration)
- 4 tablespoons of honey (or to taste)
- a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of cardamom
- 2 eggs
- sliced almonds (optional)
- Over a double boiler, melt the cacao butter. (I like to buy cacao wafers because they are easy to measure out.)
- Remove from the heat and add the cacao powder. Mix well.
- Add the honey, coconut milk, cardamom and eggs. Mix well.
- Pour into a slightly oiled pie pan. (I use coconut oil.)
- Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- When it is done the top should be cracked but the middle should still be soft and wiggly.
- Cool overnight to allow it to set. Sprinkle with sliced almonds if desired.
- Sprinkle some cocoa powder on top before serving.
I love to serve this with a roasted dandelion root beverage.
Enjoy this delicious (and healthy) treat!