Last December, I was on a morning television show talking about holiday eating. What's better, the host asked, eggnog or hot chocolate? I immediately went on a roll about cocoa's benefits for blood pressure, circulation, longevity, and even fat loss. Real cocoa is a health food.
This special smoothie combines all of cocoa's benefits with protein, a host of antioxidants (including vitamin C, see "Featured Nutrient," below), and healthy fats from avocados. The avocado also adds a surprisingly big fiber boost-one medium Hass avocado contains about 10 grams of the stuff. -Dr. Jonny
Notes from the Clean Food Coach
You can find cacao powder in most natural food stores. You can also substitute cacao nibs (pieces of whole, peeled cacao beans) for a little texture. Cacao powder is made by grinding the nibs into a paste and removing the waxy cocoa butter, leaving you with the most concentrated chocolate flavor.
For this recipe, start with 1 tablespoon of cacao powder, and add more to taste for a richer flavor (up to 2 tablespoons).
Featured Nutrient: Vitamin C
This powerhouse vitamin is required for at least 300 metabolic functions in the body. Without vitamin C, you can't form new collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue, including the layer of skin known as the dermis. The body not only requires vitamin C, it demands it for proper functioning of virtually every organ system.
Many studies suggest strongly that vitamin C benefits the body in numerous ways, including providing protection from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and (maybe) the common cold. It also helps fight environmental stressors such as pesticides and toxins. And its immune-enhancing properties make vitamin C one of the most useful nutrients for maintaining good health.
Can you get enough from food? That's the eternal question. You can certainly get enough to ward off scurvy, the disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency. But that's a pretty low bar. I supplement with vitamin C every day and recommend it as good "health insurance." Experts disagree on the optimum dose, but most health professionals recommend between 500 mg and 2,000 mg per day.
View our Creamy Choc-Orange Smoothie Recipe