What is a Superfood?
Superfoods are just as they sound – foods that contain quantities that are significantly higher of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other immune-boosting, disease fighting and anti-aging properties. Some are whole foods that are eaten every day that you’ve probably tried at one time or another (blueberries, broccoli, even potatoes). Other superfoods are exotic, and grown in rainforests located in Peru or tropical locations.
Cacao is chocolate in a raw form that is amazing for your body. Cacao is a great transition food for those of you that are beginning to move away from the standard American diet (SAD) towards a raw or whole foods diet. Personally, I use raw organic cacao powder to keep me away from chocolate bars that are heavily processed and terrible for me. It satisfies my sweet tooth for rich, dense foods and helped to make the transition from my old diet that was much higher in junk and processed foods, to a low fat plant-based diet rich in high fiber foods.
Raw Organic Cacao Vs Cocoa
Raw organic cacao is different (in a good way) from the “Cocoa” most of us grew up on. Cacao (cuh-cow) is named for the Theobroma Cacao tree, which Cocoa is derived from, and is used in reference to an unprocessed version of the cacao bean.
Normal chocolate or cocoa powder that you’d find in your local gas station or supermarket have been roasted and chemically processed, which as a result, destroys a the majority of flavanols and antioxidants. Between 60% – 90% of the antioxidants naturally found in cacao are destroyed through common “Dutch processing”. Dutch processing started in the early 19th century, and was used to darken the color, create a more mellow flavor to the chocolate, and reduce the bitterness. Regrettably, it also eliminates most of the benefits.
Non-organic chocolate and cocoa powder have been heavily treated with toxic fumigation chemicals and pesticides, and most likely will contain genetically modified (GMO) products.
Oxfam International estimates that more than 70% of the world’s non-organic cocoa is grown by indigenous areas, with workers paid at such a low wage that poverty is very widespread. In certain circumstances, child slaves are used, and are forced to conduct dangerous work like apply toxic pesticides and using machetes. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want standard chocolate even less, and should be a major incentive for each of us to reach for organic versions when our next craving kicks in.
Raw organic cacao in contrast to standard cocoa has amazing benefits, so you can eat what you want and not feel guilty afterward. In fact, you may be amazed at how good it makes you feel.
5 Amazing Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao
1.) Cacao Contains More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk
Raw Organic Cacao contains more calcium than cow’s milk (up to 40% more). Sounds like it’s time to make a switch from the trim latte for a few of squares of dairy free raw chocolate.
2.) Contains more than 40 Times the Antioxidants Found in Blueberries
Raw Organic Cacao contains more than 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. It has a mind-blowing ORAC score at 98,000 per 100g, vs blueberries that have a mere 2,400. ORAC scores are made to measure the ability of the antioxidants found in the food to absorb free radicals within your blood (which come from toxins and pollution within food, drinks, and the environment), which cause tissue and cell damage and can lead to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. In total, over 600 antioxidants are found within raw organic cacao (which is even more than oranges, goji berries, green tea, red wine, or blueberries).
3.) Is the Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron
If you are looking for more iron and are on a vegan/plant-based diet, look no further. Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron that is known to man, at 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to spinach at 3.6 mg, and beef and lamb at 2.5mg. Note that iron found in raw organic cacao is non-heme (all plant-based iron), so to receive maximum benefits, combine with some vitamin C. Oranges, or superfoods like camu camu and gubinge (which have 40 times more vitamin C than oranges).
4.) Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Brain and Heart
Raw Organic Cacao is one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium as well, which is the most deficient mineral today in the Western world. Magnesium is vital for a healthy heart, and helps turn the glucose we consume into energy, which enables the brain to work with laser-sharp focus and clarity. A good reason to turn to a raw organic cacao treat during a long night of work or study.
5.) A Natural Anti-Depressant and Mood Elevator
Raw organic cacao is an abundant source of 4 scientifically proven chemicals of bliss – dopamine, serotonin, phenylethylamine, and anandamide. These neurotransmitters are linked to cozy feelings of well-being and happiness. They are even able to alleviate depression. A healthy, delicious, and natural way to get happy.
Recommended Uses For Cacao
1.) Chocolate (Cacao) Milk or Hot Chocolate
Put 1 Tbsp of raw cacao powder into a mug, and pour in 1 cup of warmed almond or soy milk. Next, add 1-2 tsp of natural organic unprocessed sweetener like agave nectar or honey.
For a cold version, add 1 Tbsp of hot water to raw cacao powder with sweetener to dissolve. Next, add 1 cup of cold almond or soy milk with a few ice cubes.
Dairy products have been known to block the absorption of antioxidants and calcium that is found in cacao, so don’t use cow’s milk.
2.) Blend into a Smoothie
Add 1-2 Tbsp of raw organic cacao nibs or powder to your regular smoothie. When it’s done, sprinkle cacao nibs on top for the crunch factor, and to make it look amazing.
3.) Make a Raw Brownie
Try making a raw brownie, that includes cacao powder and cacao nibs. It’ll be sure to end any chocolate cravings in a second and is guilt free. It’s also wheat free, sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan, paleo and vegetarian.
Experience healthy chocolate with raw organic cacao.
Do you use raw organic cacao? If so, please share your experience with it, as well as any recipes you may use.
Awareness is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Share with the ones you love.
Sources for this article include: