We have all heard at some stage that chocolate is good for you, especially dark chocolate and that it makes you feel happy! Well not quite, yes it makes most of us happy although the regular chocolate that we have all become accustomed to is far from healthy as it is full of cane sugar and bad fats. There has been research that proves chocolate’s health benefits but unfortunately they are not referring to your standard block of Cadbury chocolate. They are referring to raw cacao.
What is raw cacao? Raw cacao is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted.
What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? They both look the same but they are different, cocoa is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. Like a lot of foods, when roasting or heating, as mentioned in my previous blog on raw honey, it loses beneficial enzymes lowering its overall nutritional value.
What are the health benefits of raw cacao?
* Raw cacao is full of flavonoids which act as a natural antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from ageing and disease caused by free radicals.
* Raw cacao is rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte.
* Raw cacao is also a good source of sulphur which is associated with strong nails, shiny hair and a healthy liver and pancreas.
*Raw cacao can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and helps regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol as the flavonoids in cacao prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidising and clogging the arteries.
* Raw cacao is also a mood enhancer as it contains phenylethylaimine (PEA). While PEA exists naturally in the brain, the only other food that contains PEA is blue-green algae.
Like everything raw cacao should still be consumed in moderation. Raw cacao is very powerful on the central nervous system and over-indulging can interfere with calcium retention. So a useful tip if you are using raw cacao in a smoothie or hot drink instead of using dairy use almond or coconut milk.
So where can you find raw cacao? I’ve noticed over the last few months more and more places are starting to stock it, if your local grocery store doesn’t stock it, it is also available from my Healthy Store along with Raw Cacao Nibs.
How do you use raw cacao? My Healthy eBook has a number of delicious recipes using raw cacao and raw cacao nibs, some of these include Creamy Banana Choc Berry Oats Bowl, Choc Berry Regular Oats Bowl, Choc Strawberry Regular Oats Bowl, Choc Berry Smoothie, Chocolate Almond Butter Slice, Chocolate Mousse Parfait, Easy Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate and Coconut Guilt Free Ice Cream and Set Chocolate Mousse.
So why not make another simple, easy, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle and use raw cacao instead of the commonly used cocoa powder!