Cacao Zucchini Bread (gluten free)

Zucchini boasts a rich nutritional profile, and it offers health benefits due to it’s phytonutrients, mineral and vitamin content. It’s a wonderful source of vitamin C’ that protects the cells from free radicals, that cause cellular damage, and helps nerve cell function, and metabolize cholesterol and to keep tissues strong. Zucchini provides carotenoids to promote healthy eyesight and protect from damage to eye tissues from sunlight. Manganese it contains promotes healthy bone tissue development, while it promotes the production of collagen, which is essential for wound healing.

Cacao Nibs come from peeled, roasted & crushed cacao beans. They have a bitter, nutty flavor, and consuming them will provide all of the health benefits of dark chocolate, without all of the drawbacks of consuming the sugar. Cacao nibs are a rich dietary source of magnesium, that is essential for circulation, muscle function and bone health, but it can’t be made by the body. These little nuggets are shown to improve your mood when you’re feeling down, as cocoa products contain phenylethylamine, the chemical released when you fall in love, but they also increase the amount of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are natural opiates that make you feel good and can reduce pain levels. Cacao products also offer tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the brain’s production of serotonin to reduce stress, relieve anxiety & even fight depression. Flavonoids that cacao contains has various cardiovascular benefits, like lowering blood pressure & cholesterol levels, while improving circulation and improving blood flow to the heart & brain. They also make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces your risk of suffering from blood clots, migraine headaches, strokes and heart attacks. Finally, cacao nibs can mildly stimulate your central nervous system similarly to the effects of coffee, as they contain caffeine to make you feel mentally alert and less fatigued giving you a healthy boost of energy.

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but the trick is to eat enough fat, not too much, and choose the best fats as often as possible. Pure Virgin Coconut Oil, containing no hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to make a liquid fat hard), is cholesterol-free, and It’s unique combination of fatty acids can have a profound positive effects on health, including fat loss, better brain function and various other wonderful benefits, including hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It can also provide relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities. Coconut oil also has a high smoke point that makes it resistant to oxidation and shelf stable.

Using a mix of these two gluten free flours (Garbanzo Bean & Whole Grain Oat), keeps this bread light, moist, nutrient dense and aids in keeping you full. They also provide fantastic components to service as a pre or post workout snack, provide superior taste, and limit calories and carbs.

(Makes 12 Slices)

1 1/2 Cups Raw Zucchini, sliced or chopped
1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour
1/2 Cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs, divided
1/2 Cup Navitas Naturals Coconut Palm Sugar
2 large Omega-3 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Tropical Traditions Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a bread pan with coconut oil & set aside.
In a large bowl stir together all the dry ingredients (NOT THE NIBS), and set aside.
In a blender add zucchini, eggs, oil, vanilla and the combined dry ingredients, and blend until creamy.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, then stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp of the cacao nibs, finally sprinkling the left over nibs evenly over the top.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then take a butter knife and slide it around the edge to the bread pan to loosen it, making it easier to remove and cool completely.
This bread can be stored at room temperature for several days, kept in a storage bag in the refrigerator or it can be frozen.
Nutritional Facts: (1 Loaf with 12 Slices)

126 Calories
5g Fat
14.5g Carbs
4g Protein

Courtesy: Thescienceofeating

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