What do you get when you mix chocolate and sweet potatoes?
PaleOMG’s Sweet Potato Brownies
(From Paleo Magazine Feb/March 2013)
1 sweet potato
3 eggs, whisked
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
½ cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons Coconut Flower
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees, use a fork to puncture holes all around sweet potato, and then cook in oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Once soft, peel off the skin and mash it up in a bowl.
- Turn your oven down to 350 degrees
- Add wet ingredients: coconut oil, honey, vanilla and whisked eggs to the bowl and mix together
- Then add your dry ingredients: coconut four, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips
- Mix well
- Pour into 8×8 glass baking dish
- Bake for 30-35 minutes
- Let cool
Health benefits of chocolate
A Healthier Heart
In a 9-year Swedish study of more than 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third.
Another big, long-term study in Germany found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. Most of the credit goes to flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.
In a small Italian study, participants who ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy. “And that helps control insulin sensitivity.”
Swiss scientists found that when very anxious people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated.
London researchers recently tested chocolate flavanols’ sun-protecting properties. After 3 months eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, their study subjects’ skin took twice as long to develop that reddening effect that indicates the beginning of a burn.
A University of Nottingham researcher found that drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could improve performance and alertness in the short term.
Other researchers from Oxford University and Norway looked at chocolate’s long-term effects on the brain by studying the diets of more than 2,000 people over age 70. They found that those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.
One study found that chocolate quieted coughs almost as well as codeine, thanks to the theobromine it contains. This chemical, responsible for chocolate’s feel-good effect, may suppress activity of the vagus nerve.
Scientists at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that cocoa flavonoids bind to a protein that regulates fluid secretion in the small intestine, potentially stopping the trots in their tracks.