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Ice Cream and Your Health: Friend or Foe?

Posted on: July 13th, 2016 by Elysiann Bishop

Ice Cream: Friend or Foe? These long summer days, nothing hits the spot like a cool, creamy scoop of ice cream. July is National Ice Cream Month in the U.S., while Sunday, July 17 marks National Ice Cream Day. While you may love nothing more than to indulge in this nostalgic summertime treat, your healthy conscience may be telling you to abstain.

We’re here to tell you that you can have your cake (or in this case, ice cream) and eat it, too. That’s right! In moderation, a serving of ice cream here and there can be a part of a healthy lifestyle – and it might even give your health a boost. Here’s how:

Weight Loss. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cites a study showing that women who ate at least one serving daily of full-fat dairy products, including ice cream, were less likely to gain weight. Keep serving sizes in check – a half cup is ample – or this tip could backfire.

Happiness. Who isn’t happy when eating ice cream? Science backs this one up. When researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry of London observed brain activity of subjects eating vanilla ice cream, the orbitofrontal cortex was affected – which is the pleasure center of brain.

Nutrition. While ice cream’s key ingredients – cream and sugar – aren’t exactly health fare, this frozen confection does offer some key nutrients. Ice cream is a good source of calcium and potassium for strong bones, potassium for blood pressure, B vitamins for energy, and iron for tissue repair and growth.

Fertility. A Harvard study found a possible correlation between eating ice cream and fertility. When the eating habits were examined of more than 18,000 women between the ages of 24 and 42, those who ate two or more servings of full-fat ice cream weekly were 38% less likely to suffer from ovulation related infertility as compared to those who indulged less that once a week.

If you love a cool summer treat, but just can’t bring yourself to partake regularly in the real thing, we have you covered. Check out this tempting recipe for a refreshing, dairy-free, avocado chocolate mint chip ice cream, adapted from purelytwins.com. No ice cream maker required!

 

Creamy Mint Chocolate Chip Avocado Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large Haas avocados (about 11 oz. peeled and pitted, or 2 cups of chunks)
  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (or coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or coconut nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract

3-5 tablespoons chocolate chips, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips into high powered blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Place mixture in large deep bowl.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Place bowl in freezer.
  6. Set timer and stir every 30 minutes until desired texture is achieved – expect a process of 2 1/2 hours or so total.

 

Need more inspiration? This article at Daily Burn will have your mouth watering with an array of unconventional, “healthy” ice cream recipes to try at home. Peach basil sorbet, anyone? Enjoy in moderation, and enjoy National Ice Cream Day in good health!

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