Luscious and Creamy Keto Cacao Milkshake
Milkshakes are popular refreshments, but here’s the catch: Traditional milkshakes, especially those that come from fast food restaurants, usually contain copious amounts of pasteurized milk, refined sugar and artificial flavorings, all of which are detrimental for your well-being.
Pasteurized milk is derived from cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), making it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. Meanwhile, excessive consumption of refined sugar and artificial flavorings may predispose you to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems.
The good news is you can still enjoy milkshakes without compromising your health. Try this guilt-free, low-carb Keto Cacao Milkshake recipe from Paleohacks — it combines healthy ingredients to create a creamy and chocolatey drink, minus the health risks.
Keto Cacao Milkshake Recipe
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Stevia, to taste (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Transfer to a glass and serve immediately.
Raw Cacao Powder: A Delicious Treat for Your Health
Most of the benefits of raw cacao powder are associated with its two major constituents: polyphenols and resveratrol. According to a 2011 study in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants, particularly catechin, epicathechin and procyanidins, than most other foods.1
Studies have shown that these compounds may help inhibit neuronal death caused by free radicals and promote neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity, ultimately improving memory, learning and cognitive function, and reducing the risk for age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.2,3 They also may provide anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, antiproliferative and chemoprotective properties.4
Resveratrol also contributes to cocoa’s neuroprotective properties, as it crosses the blood-brain barrier and alleviates inflammation in the central nervous system, which may cause neurodegenerative diseases. According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, cacao ranks second next to grapes among foods that contain the highest amount of resveratrol.5
Cacao is also a good source of healthy fats, nitrogenous compounds like theobromine and caffeine, and various minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc and magnesium. Together, these nutrients may help provide the following additional health benefits:
|Better cardiovascular health6||Lower blood pressure level7||Improved insulin sensitivity8|
|Lower risk of obesity9||Improved liver function10||Reduced stress levels11|
|Improved visual health12||Better gastrointestinal health13||Healthier skin14|
Why Are Avocados Amazing?
Avocados are a staple food in the ketogenic diet, since they’re rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and low in fructose and carbohydrates. Other essential nutrients that they contain include fiber, vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin E, among others.15 Studies have shown that avocados provide numerous health benefits, including:
- Helps improve your body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients: The healthy fats in avocado help improve the intestinal absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.16
- Helps lower bad cholesterol levels: A study published in the Archives of Medical Research shows that incorporating avocado in a high-fat diet helps increase the good HDL cholesterol levels, while decreasing bad LDL cholesterol,17 which may contribute to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes .
- Aids in weight loss: According to a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, avocados may help lower body weight, BMI and waist circumference. They’re also associated with improved diet quality and nutrient intake, as well as lowered risk of metabolic syndrome.18
Coconut Milk and Oil Make This Drink Extra Healthy
Coconut oil and coconut milk not only give this milkshake a luscious consistency, but they’re also an excellent source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that’s efficiently metabolized in the liver and converted in ketones. Ketones are far better sources of energy for the mitochondria than glucose, as they do not produce excessive reactive oxygen species. MCTs may also provide the following health benefits:
|Help promote healthy brain and thyroid function||Help improve heart health||Help reduce calorie consumption|
|Help maintain normal cholesterol levels||Help fight against disease-causing bacteria and viruses||Help inhibit inflammation|
Cacao, Cocoa or Chocolate: Which Is Which?
The terms “cacao,” “cocoa” and “chocolate” are often used interchangeably, but there’s actually a significant difference between these three. Cacao (Theobroma cacao) refers to the small evergreen tree that produces the seeds called cacao beans, also called cocoa beans.
These seeds are dried, processed and ground to create cocoa or cacao powder. The processing method strips the cacao seeds of most of their fat content — this fat is called cocoa butter. The solid food made from the processed cacao seeds is referred to as “chocolate,” but if the seeds are not roasted before they’re used in food, then the chocolate you’ll get is specifically called “raw chocolate.”
To counteract the natural bitterness of chocolate, manufacturers remove most of its cacao content and flavor it with sugar and pasteurized milk, resulting in the health-zapping foods popularly known as milk chocolate and white chocolate. Be sure to avoid these, as they may put you at risk of high blood sugar levels and hinder your body’s absorption of beneficial antioxidants.
About the Blog:
Paleohacks is one of the largest Paleo communities on the web. They offer everything Paleo, from a Q&A forum where users get their top health questions answered, to a community blog featuring daily recipes, workouts and wellness content. You can also tune in to their podcast, where they bring in the top experts in the Paleo world to share the latest, cutting-edge health information.
Sources and References:
- 1 Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Nov 15;15(10):2779-811.
- 2,12 Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 75(3): 716–727.
- 3,5 J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1445-8.
- 4 Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012; 2012: 906252.
- 6 Vascul Pharmacol. 2015 Aug;71:11-5.
- 7 BMJ 2012;344:e3657
- 8 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81, Issue 3, 1 March 2005, Pages 541–542,
- 9 Fitoterapia. 2009 Jul;80(5):255-62.
- 10 Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):584-90.
- 11 The Netherlands Journal of Medicine. 2013 March;71(2):63-68.
- 13 Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;93(1):62-72.
- 14 J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9.
- 15 USDA National Nutrient Database, Avocado
- 16 Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013 May; 53(7): 738–750.
- 17 h Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23.
- 18 Nutr J. 2013; 12: 1.