How to add raw cacao into your diet and the benefits!

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I”m going to share with you two different ways to add Raw Cacao into your diet and why it can be really beneficial to your health. If you have a sweet tooth and get those sugar cravings in the evenings there could be some quick and easy replacements here.

I wouldn’t say I am someone who loves chocolate bars as such, but I do lovely chocolatey flavoured things and here are some of my favourites.

First of all though, you might be wondering what is Raw Cacao and why is everyone raving about it?

What is raw cacao and it’s benefits?

Chocolate is made from cacao beans, well actually the seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree.

For thousands of years, cocoa beans —which are the source of real chocolate, as well as coffee — have been considered natural stimulants, relaxants, euphoriants, aphrodisiacs, tonics and antidepressants, in part because of a chemical found in these beans called theobromine.This compound was first discovered in the 1840s by biologists studying the bitter seeds (or pods) of cocoa trees in Central and South America, who referred to the trees as “Theobroma,” which means “food of the gods” in Greek. The definition of theobromine is “a bitter, volatile compound obtained from cacao seeds.” It’s technically an alkaloid compound (meaning a nitrogen-atom containing chemical) that resembles caffeine and has similar effects.

What does theobromine do to humans exactly? Its effects include stimulating the heart, widening blood vessels and potentially improving one’s mood.Is theobromine a stimulant like caffeine? While it’s not as strong of a stimulant compared to caffeine, it does have some stimulant effects, including speeding up your heart rate, possibly increasing alertness and increasing urination.

Explanation from Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS

So what are the health benefits?

Real, organic, raw cacao is a superfood containing a variety of unique phytonutrients, including high amounts of flavonoids, sulfur, magnesium and phenylethylamine. Believe it or not, cacao nibs are one of the best sources of polyphenols and have more antioxidant activity than tea, wine, blueberries and even goji berries.These characteristics provide many benefits similar to the benefits of dark chocolate, such as reduced inflammation and improved focus, alertness and mood. Unfortunately, what most of us think of as chocolate contains no real cacao at all — which means it does not provide these valuable compounds.

Explanation from Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS

Some other benefits of adding raw cacao into your diet include…

  • The cocoa bean contains several minerals necessary for vascular function. Dietary magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium all reduce risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis (248).
  • Cocoa powder contains up to 50 mg of polyphenols per gram. Single servings of cocoa and cocoa products contain more phenolic antioxidants than most foods (Table 1), and more procyanidins than the average amount consumed by Americans per day (86).
  • Boosts mood – Cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters (e.g. phenylethylamine) that promote a sense of well-being.
  • Protects the nervous system – Cacao is rich in the antioxidant resveratrol, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and is neuroprotective (prevents nerve cells from damage).

 

(Yale University Prevention Research Center, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Connecticut.
Corresponding author.
Dr. David L. Katz, Yale University Prevention Research Center, Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St., GMB Doctor Sandy Krafchik

1. The Easy Hot Chocolate

I shared this one with you last week as its so super easy. Especially as autumn is approaching, this is an instant warmer and kids will love it too. Ditch the pre mixed hot choc powders that contain sugar, and various other ingredients that aren’t doing you any favours and have no nutritional benefits.

Ingredients:

  • Manuka Honey/Maple Syrup
  • Raw Cacao
  • Heated Oat Milk
  • Boiled water

Where to buy?

 

2. Mixing raw cacao into your morning porridge.

This is a really good one and you can have this in the morning or also in the early evening. There are no real rules for this, but making your porridge as you normally would and then a heaped tablespoon of Raw Cacao to give yourself an extra immunity boost.

This is a quick and easy recipe from Homegrown Kate

Image: Homegrown Kate

Cacao is a natural source of energy which can enhance motivation and feelings of pleasure and bliss! Oats are incredibly sustaining whilst the nuts, fruit and honey make this an all-round breakfast winner in our house!

Ingredients:

  • 130g rolled oats
  • 800ml nut milk or oat milk (you can make your own nut milk here)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • Flaked almonds, banana slices and cacao powder or nibs to serve.

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a pan on the hob and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer gently for around 5 minutes, stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. You may need to add a little more nut milk or water to get the right consistency for you and your family. We like our porridge quite runny (we’re definitely not gloopy porridge fans!)
  2. Serve with a sprinkling of cacao powder or cacao nibs, some sliced bananas and flaked almonds and enjoy the natural buzz of energy you’ll get from all these amazing ingredients!

Hope you enjoy these quick and easy methods!

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