February is the time of year that we celebrate romance and love with Valentine’s Day as well as encourage people to engage in heart healthy lifestyle habits during American Heart Association month. The combination of sweet and juicy cherries along with chia seeds in this frozen smoothie serves as a nutritious yet delicious Valentine’s Day treat or even a quick breakfast on the go.
- 1½ cups frozen unsweetened cherries
- ½ cup 1% milk or non-dairy milk such as almond, soy or cashew milk
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- 2 tsp stevia
- 1 cup vanilla bean or cherry flavor frozen yogurt or non-dairy frozen dessert (example So Delicious or Tofutti brands)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Serve immediately.
- Substitute the non-dairy milk and non-dairy frozen dessert if desired to prepare a non-dairy or Paleo friendly smoothie.
Nutrition information in this food blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Consult your personal health care provider for medical advice.
Cherries are nutritional superstars which provide powerful antioxidants that fight disease causing free radicals in our body and they also have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Research done at the University of Michigan suggests that tart cherries provide cardiovascular benefit and can reduce the risk of stroke. They are sweet and tart in taste and an excellent source of fiber as well as a good source of potassium and Vitamin C in the diet. One cup contains only 87 calories. Cherries are delicious to snack on and you can add them to salads, muffins, quick breads, smoothies or to a bowl of hot or cold cereal in the morning.
Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, yogurt or hot cereals and taste great in puddings. They naturally gel or thicken liquid foods. Chia seeds have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries and recently gained popularity as a nutritional staple in the United States in the last ten years. Chia seeds come from salvia, a plant with sky blue flowers that is native to Mexico. They are a rich source of polyunsaturated fats and are one of the highest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. The heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds are thought to play a role in reducing inflammation in the body, enhancing cognitive function and reducing cholesterol according to various research studies on this subject. The combination of the protein, high fiber content and gelling action of chia seeds when combined with liquids contribute to their high satiety, which is the feeling of being full and satisfied. This can potentially reduce food cravings between meals and fill you up more at meal time. Since they are also a great source of fiber, they are very helpful in preventing constipation as well if consumed as part of a high fiber diet on a regular basis.
Be sure to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the love of your life and be good to your heart in honor of the American Heart Association’s heart health month!