Raw cacao originates from the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) bean. Raw cocoa is actually very different from the common cocoa powder what is powder chemically processed and roasted, which destroys a large amount of the antioxidants and nutrients. A recent study showed that between 60% and 90% of the original antioxidants in cacao are lost through the processing what was originally developed to reduce the bitterness, darken the colour, and create a softer flavor to the chocolate. Generally, raw cacao products what are made from fermented, dried, unroasted cacao beans are less processed and that’s is why they are much healthier.
Cacao is an excellent source of fiber because it comes from a seed. It also contains some protein. It’s the highest plant-based source of iron. The iron in cacao is non-heme, so to get the maximum benefits you should eat it with vitamin C rich foods. Raw cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of important mineral – magnesium. The lack of it can cause diabetes and heart problems. Magnesium also helps to keep healthy blood pressure, strong bones, lower risk of cardiovascular disease and healthy nervous system activity. It’s also a perfect source of calcium – it has more calcium than in cow’s milk. Cacao is a great source of serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These chemicals are associated with happiness and stress and depression relief. It contains heaps of antioxidants as well.
Where to use
So as it came out from the article it’s good choice to swap cocoa powder out for more healthy cacao. But where to use it?
• Add few tablespoons to your baked goods (like brownies), smoothies and you will get intense chocolate flavor.
• Make coffee drinks or hot cacao. When it’s summer weather is warm outside – make a cold version with ice.
• You can do interesting healthy desserts like chocolate hummus, energy balls, ice-cream from frozen bananas, chia seed pudding, homemade chocolate or truffles.