Avo & Cacao Smoothie Bowl
Chocolate for breakfast?
YES PLEASE :) Okay, so maybe having chocolate for breakfast isn't the wisest idea. It's probably not going to give you energy that will sustain you until lunch-time, and might make you feel a bit queasy if it's the only thing that you eat upon waking up. That being said chocolate is pretty delicious, and cacao powder is a great ingredient that makes pretty much anything taste just like chocolate (it is what chocolate is made from after all). Avocado may seem like a strange ingredient to include in a smoothie, but it is the key ingredient that gives this smoothie such an incredibly creamy texture. In addition to its contribution to overall mouthfeel, including avocado in this smoothie ups the nutrient density and health benefits of this yummy breakfast.
Avocados contain a variety of essential nutrients and important phytochemicals that are beneficial to health . Although the official avocado serving size is 30 g, the average quantity consumed at one time is about half a small avocado . Some of the most notable nutrients provided by avocados include :
6.7 g dietary fibre
485 mg potassium (14% DV)
29.0 mg magnesium (7% DV)
2.1 mg vitamin E (10% DV)
10 g vitamin C (17% DV)
21 mcg (26% DV)
81 mcg folate (20% DV)
9.8 g monounsaturated fatty acids
Avocados consist of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFAs) . It's high 'healthy fat' content promotes healthy blood lipid profiles and enhances the bioavailability and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and phytochemicals from the avocado . Diets that contain moderate amounts of MUFAs are known to decrease the risk of developing heart disease . A number of studies and clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the potential benefits of avocados in promoting cardiovascular health. In some of these studies, hypercholesterolemic subjects that consumed avocado-enriched diets showed improved blood lipid profiles (lower LDL-cholesterol levels and triglycerides, and higher HDL-cholesterol levels) compared with high carbohydrate diets or other diets without avocado .
Dietary fibre makes up 80% of the carbohydrate content of avocados, of which 70% is insoluble and 30% is soluble fibre . Moderate avocado consumption, as part of a healthy diet, can help one achieve the recommended minimum daily intake of fibre, promoting gut health and bowel function . Compared to other fruits (yes, avocado is actually a fruit) avocados contain very little sugar (0.7 g/100 g) and the GI of avocados is thus almost 0 .
Avocados are unique in that they contain a significant amount of both antioxidant vitamins, C and E . Both of these vitamins may play a role in contributing to vascular and heart health through preventing the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the bloodstream, minimising oxidative damage and inflammation, and arterial plaque stabilisation . Avocados contain high amounts of vitamin K, which plays a very important role as a coenzyme in blood coagulation and bone metabolism . Avocados are the richest known fruit source of beneficial phytosterols, which may play a role in enhancing cardiovascular health and reducing chronic disease risk . Other phytonutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, play a role in promoting eye health and beautiful glowing skin .
In terms of harvesting, processing, and retail, avocados are a farm-to-shelf food that requires no additional processing or preservatives . Avocados are covered with a tough outer skin that eliminates the need to package them whilst protecting the edible flesh from contamination, provided that they are transported and handled with care .
I'm being a bit sneaky by adding this right at the end, but if you don't have the time or energy to read through this entire post and have scrolled all the way to the bottom to get to the recipe you can watch this video that I found, which summarises the benefits of avocados quite well :)
And finally, here is the recipe for my delicious cacao & avocado smoothie bowl. I hope that you enjoy it!
Serves 1 (large) or 2 (small)
Total time: 10min
1/2 avocado, ripe
1/2 banana, chopped and frozen
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup plain yoghurt/kefir
2 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
A handful of ice cubes
2 Medjool dates OR 2 tsp honey (OPTIONAL)
1/4 cup water, as needed
Toasted coconut flakes
Nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews)
Peel the avocado before placing it in a blender along with all of the other smoothie ingredients. Blend on a high speed until smooth and creamy. Add water as needed to help the blender. Pour into a bowl, top with delicious toppings, and enjoy :)
You can put this smoothie into an on-the-go shake bottle for a great take-away breakfast for busy mornings. The frozen banana and ice keep it nice and cold for a while.
 Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53:738-50.
 SELF Nutrition Data. Avocados, raw, commercial varieties Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. California; 2016. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2.
 Dr Axe. Avocado Benefits: The Most Nutrition-Packed Food on the Planet? [Internet]. 2014. Available from: https://draxe.com/avocado-benefits/.
 López Ledesma R, Frati Munari AC, Hernández Domínguez BC, Cervantes Montalvo S, Hernández Luna MH, Juárez C, Morán Lira S. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996;27(4):519-23.