Good Mood Probiotic Chocolate Bark
Updated: Jan 31
Does anyone else love chocolate as much as I do? Boasting such a broad spectrum of health benefits, this certainly is a treat to be enjoyed!
Dark chocolate may increase serotonin levels (your happy hormone), not just because of the tryptophan (amino acid which is turned into serotonin in the body) it contains, but also because of the carbohydrates in the form of sugar which signals to the body to boost your serotonin output.
Chocolate also contains a compound called anandamide which is often referred to as the 'bliss molecule'. Phenylethylamine, also contained in chocolate supports heightened focus, attention and goal-oriented behaviour. While chocolates flavonoid content can help improve memory, learning and brain function - not to mention, the rich antioxidant content of this delicious treat.
In this recipe, I have included plenty of healthy fats from the pumpkin seeds and the coconut which are essential for supporting healthy brain function - remember, the brain is composed of 60% fat! The blueberries, too, provide a great source of antioxidants to protect and support the brain.
With that said, it is the Maca powder and the Probiotics which really give this recipe its 'Good Mood' name:
Maca - a type of vegetable native to the Andes of Peru and used medicinally for thousands of years. It is considered to be an 'adaptogen' which is a name given to certain natural substances which help the body to adapt to stressors such as a demanding schedule, illness etc. Several studies have shown maca to be beneficial in supporting energy, stamina, mood, memory and focus.
Probiotics - several mood supportive molecules such as the neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin can be produced by gut bacteria. In fact, the health of our gut bacteria can impact our mood and brain function. In this recipe, I used a combination of probiotic and prebiotic powder to feed and support the healthy bacteria in the gut.
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup (use 5-6 drops stevia if sugar sensitive)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup coconut shavings
1/3 cup fresh or dried blueberries
1 tbsp maca powder
3 probiotic capsules
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Toast pumpkin seeds and coconut shavings and set aside.
Gently melt the coconut oil and the whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, mama and cinnamon (if using).
Continue to whisk until cooled to just above room temperature. Empty probiotics into mixture and mix well.
Pour your chocolate into your lined tray and top with blueberries, pumpkin seeds and coconut shavings.
Allow to set in the fridge for 20mins.
Can be stored in the fridge for one week or freezer for one month.
I would love to hear what you thought of this recipe! Personally I just love the subtle caramel flavour of the maca combined with the tang of the probiotics. I store this in my freezer to have on hand as a nutritious treat whenever I am in the mood for a little chocolate therapy.