Cacao, (raw chocolate) is a great way to consume something nutritious while feeling decadent. Raw, powdered cacao is full of flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from ageing and disease. Raw cacao has the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world. Nearly twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidant content of green tea. The cacao bean is also rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte. Cacao has also been found to help regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol while building the immune system.
Drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can diminish your appetite by helping the body tune in to its natural appetite, this is why it is often added to weight-loss supplements. Drinking hot cocoa will give you more antioxidants than simply eating chocolate, because the heat releases more antioxidants.
The best powder is dark brown and will taste bitter. To get the most health benefits from your cup of cacao, try using a milk substitute such as coconut milk, rice milk or just plain water and sweeten with a natural sugar alternative such as xylitol (sourced from birch trees), stevia, a small amount of honey or agave nectar.
Cacao can be purchased in several forms. Powders, nibs or butters (for anyone interested in making their own chocolates or skin care products)
Healthy recipes using cacao can be found on our Pinterest pages