Who doesn’t love a great mashup, especially one with chocolate? It’s no longer a secret that chocolate has many health benefits. And here’s more good news: When you pair chocolate with another food that’s bursting with nutrition—apples—you get even more health benefits, particularly for the heart.
The cocoa found in dark chocolate is full of catechins, a type of antioxidant that helps prevent the hardening of arteries and can help weight loss. Meanwhile apples, and particularly the skin, contain quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Together, this sweet pair can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues, including plaque build-up in your arteries that leads to heart attacks.
Just be sure to buy organic apples and dark chocolate without too much sugar. One brand we like is Lulu’s Chocolate, a fair trade, vegan, soy- and gluten-free brand made with lower-glycemic coconut sugar, but there are plenty of good ones out there. Have a few squares alongside your apple slices for a treat that’s satisfying and good for your ticker—or combine the dynamic duo in the smoothie below.
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 whole organic apples (any variety), cored and chopped
- 2 cups coconut water
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- A pinch of sea salt
- Add ingredients to a blender and mix on high until smooth, about a minute or so.
Vary the flavors in this luscious smoothie with different nut butters and apple varieties.