On weekdays, I usually get up at 5:30 am and leave for work at around 7:00 am, so I want a boost to start my day right. Recently, I have been experimenting with chocolate smoothies and have come up with a recipe that makes for a great breakfast drink.
This rich and creamy smoothie goes down well first thing in the morning. It has a subtle chocolate flavour and a natural sweetness. It’s made with magnesium-rich foods, such as cacao nibs, bananas, raw almonds and dates.
Cacao nibs, as featured above, are pure chocolate bits extracted from dried and fermented cacao beans. Of all types of chocolate, cacao nibs are the least processed and the best source of antioxidants, fiber, iron and magnesium. You can buy cacao nibs in some supermarkets or natural food stores.
Magnesium plays an important role in our body—every cell and organ need this vital mineral. It contributes to bone health and proper brain, heart and muscle function. It can also help combat fatigue.
Referred to as the anti-stress mineral, magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. With enough magnesium in your body, you sleep better at night. If you’re feeling anxious, overworked, depressed or you have mood swings or PMS symptoms, make sure that you’re getting enough magesium-rich foods in your diet.
Magnesium deficiency isn’t always easy to detect, but it can happen, especially among populations at risk. People with gastrointestinal disorders, type-2 diabetes or people who suffer from alcoholism can have hypomagnesemia. Some prescription medication, such as antibiotics and antacids can also deplete magnesium levels.
If you are deficient, you might feel chronically tired. You might have a poor appetite and feel nauseated or experience vomiting. Numbness, muscle weakness, leg cramps or headaches are other symptoms that can develop. More seriously, irregular or abnormal heart rhythms can develop. With any symptoms, you should see a health professional to determine the cause.
Eating magnesium-rich foods is the best way to avoid a deficiency. In addition to the ingredients in this smoothie, other magnesium-rich foods are: avocados, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, grains, salmon, Brussel sprouts and broccoli. Some cereals are fortified with magnesium. Bear in mind that magnesium is often found in foods that are high in dietary fibre.
Should you want to take a magnesium supplement, check with your healthcare professional. The Institute of Health recommends a daily allowance of magnesium depending on age and gender. For example, men over 31 years can take 420 milligrams; women over 31 years can take 320 milligrams.
Mighty magnesium smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas, sliced
- 4-5 medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons (tbsps) cacao nibs -or- 100% pure cacao powder
- A good handful of almonds with skins, softened (see note) or ½ cup almond cream
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla powder
- 2 cups of cold water (add more if need be)
- 8-10 ice cubes
Soften the pitted dates for a few minutes in warm water. Discard water. Put all ingredients in a blender, preferably high-speed. Whizz for 2-3 minutes or until you can’t hear the ice breaking and the beverage is creamy-smooth. Store leftovers in a covered glass container in fridge.
Note: If you haven’t got or made any almond cream and you REALLY want to have that smoothie RIGHT NOW, then put a good handful of almonds (the brown kind with with skins on) in a small bowl and cover them with water. Put a lid on the bowl. Heat in microwave on high for 3 minutes. Take out (very hot!) and strain the water. Rinse almonds under cold running water to cool them and add them to the smoothie ingredients.