The key ingredient for making my rich Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta is grass-fed gelatin, a pantry staple appearing in any self-respecting paleo kitchen! I love gelatin, a fun, giggly food that also has a serious side due to it’s multiple health benefits!
So, before I launch into my panna cotta recipe, I’d like to explore the virtues of adding gelatin to your diet, and how it's great for promoting healthy skin, hair and nails, strengthening bones and joints, and aiding gut health!
What is gelatin?
Gelatin starts with a protein from collagen and is made from the part of animals not usually consumed, such as the connective tissue, bones, and skin of cows, pigs, chickens and sometimes fish. If you’ve ever noticed the jelly left in the bottom of a roasting pan, that’s gelatin!
However, if you’re not sure what gelatin is, or why it is so important, first thing you need to know is that it comes in two powdered forms: gelatin or collagen hydrolysate.
Gelatin is a pure collagen protein. It is completely tasteless and dissolves in hot water. Once cooled, it produces a firm gel that is great for using in numerous dessert recipes or used as a thickener for gravies or whipped cream. Gelatin of this sort can also be used as an effective egg replacer.
On the other hand, collagen hydrolysate is made by breaking down collagen protein into amino acids through a process called hydrolysis. This creates a powder with the same health benefits of gelatin, minus it’s gelling abilities. In this form, it is easy to digest and can be dissolved in both hot and cold liquids. It is also flavorless and doesn’t change the texture of foods it’s added to.
Gelatin health benefits
Both gelatin and collagen hydrolysate are rich in protein, with just one tablespoon providing nine grams of protein! That’s about 17 percent of your daily protein requirement! This substantial protein content helps provide structure in our bodies, keeping skin resilient and joints and bones strong, especially as our bodies age and our natural ability to form collagen begins to decrease. There is also evidence that collagen helps relieve arthritis pain.
Research also has found that collagen may help improve skin elasticity, reducing skin aging. Gelatin is also believed to help normalize gut hormones in people with obesity and has been used for weight loss
While consuming gelatin and collagen supplies the important amino acids for collagen stores in your body, they also have incredible gut-healing benefits, helping to soothe and heal intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) and restore the normal mucosal layer in the gut lining.
Eat more gelatin
To get more gelatin in your diet, you don’t have to gnaw on animal bones! Yet, adding powdered gelatin or hydrolyzed collegen is easy! Both have numerous delicious culinary uses, and can be added to soups or sauces, stirred into hot drinks, or used to make jellies, mousses, gummies and smoothies. If you are a chocolate lover, try this super easy, only four ingredient Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta recipe today!
Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta
1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (BPA-free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin
⅓ cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)
In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the coconut milk with the powdered gelatin
Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the gelatin to “bloom”
Add in the vanilla and remaining coconut milk, then
gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking well to help the gelatin dissolve, being careful to not let it boil
Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips
Whisk until the chocolate chips are completely dissolved
Pour the mixture into 4 small ramekins or dishes, and place in the fridge to set for at least 2-4 hours before serving