Healthy Desserts For Healthy Skin

Here is another delish recipe to feed your body and help to keep your skin looking youthful.   These recipes feature cocoa, avocado and cocoa and berries. Cocoa is an amazing food.  It’s extremely high in antioxidants and in Vitamin E which keeps skin smooth and helps cells to regenerate and also stimulates blood flow.  Topical skin crèmes and lotions made from cocoa butter are wonderful and smell divine if you are a chocoholic like me, but I want to eat cocoa too, not just wear it!  I use organic fair trade cocoa not only for the rich flavor, because for me personally I feel a whole lot better supporting the earth and the earth’s workers in sustainable ways.  And as you would expect with sustainable produced food it tastes seriously better than the regular supermarket brands too.  I’m not surprised to learn that low quality cocoa doesn’t have the same benefits as a cocoa that is high in flavonoids.

Cocoa protects your skin from the sun, helps maintain hydration and prevent roughness. It is just loaded with  flavonols including flavonoids and quercetin, caffeine, and theobromine.  However you’ve got to get the good stuff.  A high flavonol cocoa will do it for you, but a low flavonol cocoa won’t.  A study by Mars (the candy bar), showed that a drink with 329mg of flavonls over 12 weeks improved blood flow, skin hydration, structure and texture and sensitivity to UV irradiation.  Those that got a drink with 27mg of flavonols had no such good things happen for their skin. The drink they used for high flavonol content was called cocoapro, but I’m happy to stick with the cocoa I get from my local health food store for now.

Avocado offers protection against UV, free radical damage and helps to keep  skin hydrated and elastic.  It is high in Vitamin E, lutein and cartonenoids high in vitamin K, folate and potassium and B6.  It doesn’t just help your skin it helps your heart, and prevents inflammation and helps to keep blood pressure under check too.

These desserts are rich and decadent.  And they nourish you from the inside out.  They are easy enough to whip up any day of the week for your family, and grand enough to serve at any dinner party.  I actually came across this some time ago in a raw food forum and have made it several times.  I find that it lends itself very well to experimentation and I’ve got one variation here for you, because the berries are skin food too.

If you want to cut calories a bit you can blend agave and stevia, especially for the chocolate version.    You won’t need much agave – if any for the berry version.  Stevia is fine in little bits – it’s popular because it’s zero calories and a natural alternative to sugar. I’m not a huge fan because it has a bitterness about it that reminds me a lot of artificial sweeteners.   On the other hand, Agave has plenty of calories and it isn’t necessarily low glycemic as has been claimed.  You can try a compromise between the two if the extra calories from Agave concern you, or if you are avoiding sugars.

Both of these recipes look amazing in tall dessert glasses, and the mixed berry forms a vibrant mulberry colour which is very pretty.

 

Chocolate Pudding
1 Large Avocado medium soft, diced
¼ cup raw agave nectar, or more to taste
(Tip experiment with a combo of agava and Stevia:  Stevia to taste)
¼ cup organic cocoa powder
¼ cup water
2 t vanilla extract
Pinch of  sea salt

Place avocado, agave nectar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt in a blender. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and blend to a creamy consistency.

This will last a couple of days under refrigeration.

Variations:
Mixed Berries can be added instead of cocoa:  It provides a lovely mulberry colour and is best eaten within the day.

References
Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women 2006 American Society for Nutrition J. Nutr. 136:1565-1569, June 2006

Ulrike Heinrich, Karin Neukam, Hagen Tronnier*, Helmut Sies and Wilhelm Stahl
Donnarumma G, Paoletti I, Buommino E et al. AV119, a Natural Sugar from Avocado gratissima, Modulates the LPS-Induced Proinflammatory Response in Human Keratinocytes. Inflammation. 2010 Oct 9. 2010.

Rosenblat G, Meretski S, Segal J et al. Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols derived from avocado suppress inflammatory response and provide non-sunscreen protection against UV-induced damage in skin cells. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Oct 27. 2010.

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