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4 Super-Healthy Super-Easy Desserts

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You won’t believe how delicious they are!

If you’re looking for a new dessert that’s healthful, the first ingredient you’ll want to reduce is added sugar. But to do even better, the best trick is to add at least one superstar nutrient.

For something that’s truly delicious and chock-full of amazing health benefits, try one of these four easy-to-make desserts—each with a superstar nutrient that’s known for specific health benefits…

CHIA VANILLA PUDDING

Superstar nutrient: Chia seeds. Yes, these are the same seeds that cause Chia Pets to sprout, but these tiny black seeds are packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber—nearly 10 g per ounce. Chia seeds are also a good source of calcium.

And it gets even better. A Canadian study found that regular consumption of chia seeds helps lower blood sugar levels—an important bonus for people with diabetes.

How to prepare: ­In a blender, combine ¼ cup each of almonds and dates with ¾ cup of water until the mixture is smooth and creamy like pudding. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ¼ cup of raisins and refrigerate for an hour, allowing the seeds to absorb the liquid. Water makes the seeds soft and gel-like—it will remind you of tapioca pudding. Sprinkle with toppings such as chopped nuts or fresh berries. Makes two to four servings.

STRAWBERRY SORBET

Superstar nutrient: Strawberries. These vitamin C–rich gems may help fight cancer. In one recent study, they slowed the growth of precancerous esophageal lesions. The fiber in strawberries is also believed to slash colorectal cancer risk. If you don’t like strawberries: Try raspberries—they’re also delicious!

How to prepare: Blend 1 cup of frozen strawberries (or raspberries) with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup until it’s the consistency of a creamy sorbet. (Add a pinch of cardamom, which promotes digestion, or crushed mint leaves, for an extra taste treat.) Makes one serving.

COCONUT DELIGHTs

P 15 IMG 9772-Almond-DelightsSuperstar nutrient: Coconut oil. Long considered taboo due to its saturated fat, coconut oil is now gaining momentum as a healthful food when consumed in moderation, thanks to its high levels of medium-chain triglycerides, easily digested fats that deliver long-lasting energy and are rarely stored as fat.

How to prepare: Measure out 1¼ cups of shredded coconut. Place half the coconut in a food processor, and process until it reaches a chunky consistency (this may take several minutes). Add in the remaining coconut shreds and 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Process this until the ingredients are well mixed. Mold the mixture into the shape of golf balls, flatten and then refrigerate for an hour until firmly set. Next, mix 4 tablespoons each of melted cacao butter and cacao powder with 2 tablespoons of your favorite liquid sweetener such as coconut nectar or maple syrup until smooth. When the balls are firmly set, dip them in the cacao mixture and allow to set again in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes. Makes six large Coconut Delights.

JEWEL FRUIT TART

P 15 IMG 4627-Jewel-Fruit-TartSuperstar nutrient: Almond butter. Similar to peanut butter in its main health benefits, almond butter offers protein for muscle maintenance and is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. But almond butter outdoes peanut butter as a source of calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium—all necessary for healthy bones.

How to prepare: To make the crust, pulse 2 cups of walnuts in a food processor until they become a rough flour. Add 2 cups of raisins, and process until a dough forms. Press the dough into a tart or pie tin, and refrigerate for two hours. For the filling, blend ½ cup of almond butter and ¼ cup each of melted coconut oil and maple syrup with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon until it’s a smooth consistency (add water if needed). Gently spread the filling into the bottom of the chilled crust, and let harden in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes. Top off the tart with three to four cups of berries. Makes six to eight servings.

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Source: Emily von Euw, a raw food recipe creator and the author of Rawsome Vegan Baking (Page Street). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ThisRawsomeVeganLife.com

Date: July 1, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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