If you are looking for a good reason to eat more chocolate, you’ve got it. Not only is it delicious, chocolate made from raw cacao is incredibly healthy, and specifically supports heart health. February is “Heart Health” month. Just in time, here’s our Easy, Delicious Valentine’s Keto Chocolate Truffles with many chocolate heart health benefits!
Makes ~24 truffles.
Nutrition Information (per truffle without add-ins): 83 calories, 7 gram fat, 4 grams net carbs (6 grams total carbs, 2 grams fiber), 1 gram protein
First, let’s get through the names and spelling. Chocolate is made from cocoa or cacao beans. These two names are often used interchangeably. However, cacao is processed differently.
Raw cacao is made from fermented, dried, and unroasted cacao beans. Cocoa beans are roasted at high heat, damaging some of the living nutrient components and reducing the flavanols by up to 60%. While cocoa still provides benefits, cacao is superior for health. (1).
Choose raw cacao and cacao products whenever possible. Here’s why.
What’s more, cacao may reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. One review of over 157,000 people showed that higher chocolate consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of heart issues, stroke and death (4).
Lastly, cocoa may reduce bad LDL cholesterol and has a blood thinning effect similar to aspirin.
Let’s start here.
Cacao contains health-benefiting compounds called flavanols. They cross the blood-brain barrier to affect brain health and mood (6).
One flavanol is phenethylamine (PEA). It has natural pain- and stress-reducing properties. It also increases endorphins to improve focus.
What’s more, cacao improves mood by raising serotonin levels and contains theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used in the treatment of depression.
Increased blood flow encourages optimal brain health. Cacao’s flavanols increase blood levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates arteries to improve blood flow.
One study resulted in an increase of more than 40% in blood flow in post-menopausal women compared to the control (7). Another study of older adults showed an increase of 10% brain blood flow with just 2 weeks of cacao consumption (8).
There’s more to these keto chocolate truffles.
In addition to a small amount of caffeine, cacao delivers anti-fatigue nutrients. These include (9):
A small study from London showed a decrease in fatigue symptoms, in those with conditions involving fatigue, after 8 weeks of cacao treatment (10).
When cells are more sensitive to insulin, they are healthier. They deal with carbohydrates better, require less insulin to store them, and store less fat.
The flavanols encourage insulin sensitivity, and they (8):
Individual components of cacao have been shown to induce “harmful cell” death and prevent the spread of these cells in test tube studies (9).
In animal studies, scientists have found that cacao components support breast, pancreatic, prostate, blood, liver and colon cell health (9).
The animal and human studies are promising, but general. More research is needed.
Sure, free radical damage sounds bad. But what is it and what causes it?
Unfortunately, most everything around you can cause it.
In fact, sun exposure, cigarette smoke, toxic chemicals in the environment and foods, pollution, and even some of our own body’s biochemical reactions can cause free radical damage and its accumulated oxidative stress.
When we consume antioxidants, we consume compounds that neutralize free radicals and work to heal cells.
Cacao has more than 300 different antioxidant chemical compounds and more than 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries. And while other foods’ antioxidants diminish with time, cacao has demonstrated stability in samples over 75 years old (10)!
Our keto chocolate truffles are just what your heart needs!
What more could you want this Valentine’s Day? Choose raw cacao and raw cacao products for the most chocolate heart health benefits. Enjoy delicious keto chocolate truffles with loved one’s this month!