30 Mar Dessert as Medicine?: Vegan Beetroot Pot de Crème
Can this decidedly delicious dessert really improve your mood, lower blood pressure, and enhance your athletic performance? Yes, yes, and yes!
If there is one thing we take seriously around here, it’s dessert.
Made with fresh-pressed beetroot juice and flavanol-containing dark chocolate, it turns out this delectable sweet is much more than just an indulgence for your senses.
Fresh-Pressed Beetroot Juice and Betalains
Beets are one of the richest sources of naturally occurring betalains. Found in Swiss chard, amaranth, and most abundantly red beetroot, betalains are powerful antioxidants and have been known to reduce inflammation and aid in the process of detoxification.
Consuming beetroot itself has been shown to improve running performance in healthy adults, reduce muscle soreness in some circumstances, and even lower blood pressure. In fact, researchers are so impressed with its powerful effects that they are even exploring whether phytochemical extracts of beetroot juice have the potential to reduce and limit the onset of cancer and its development.
Fun Fact: Betalains are popularly used in the food industry as a source of natural red color. We like to use beet powder to naturally color our children’s Playdough or to dye frosting pink!
Dark Chocolate and Flavanols
Aside from tasting delicious, cocoa contains a class of polyphenols (phytochemicals) known as flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and work as powerful antioxidants. And suprisingly, cocoa has more polyphenols and a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea or red wine.
Along with increasing your blood oxygen level, Flavanols have been shown to enhance cerebral blood flow and stimulate cognitive performance too – with brain scans of subjects who have tasted chocolate revealing enhanced blood flow in regions associated with antidepressant actions, such as the thalamus. Consumption of polyphenols in cocoa has also proven to benefit the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure and lowering LDL Cholesterol (the bad kind).
Intuition Check: Those chocolate cravings may be trying to tell you something! Some theories suggest that cravings for a certain food are driven by a physiological need, (think vitamins and minerals that you may be deficient in).
And if you need another reason to indulge in this healthy treat, the Phenylethylamine found in chocolate has been known to induce pleasurable sensations and trigger feelings similar to “falling in love”. Who doesn’t want to leave the dinner table on Cloud Nine?
What Does It All Mean?
Basically, we see it like this: Vegan Beetroot Pot de Crème is not only filled with Real Food that has been linked to health-enhancing attributes but tastes truly amazing. In our opinion, this is a smart and satisfying choice when you are in the mood for something sweet. Check out the recipe below!
- Use organic beetroot and leave the peel on when juicing, since betalains are most concentrated in the peel.
- Not all chocolate is created equal; crop, season and country of origin all impact the polyphenols in cocoa beans. In general, the darker the better.
- Check out this great tutorial by the kitchn to learn how best to use fresh vanilla beans
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