Okay, so I’m not talking about the “mainstream brand” blocks of chocolate and chocolate bars. I’m talking about the real deal: chocolate in its raw, unprocessed and unadulterated state — raw cacao.
Firstly, let’s clear up any confusion you may have about cacao, cocoa and mainstream chocolate.
* Cacao powder is simply the cacao bean that has been through a cold-pressing process — and is what I am making all this fuss about. It is rich in nutrients and beneficial to our health and beauty.
* Cocoa is basically cacao that has been cooked and adulterated, therefore not as nutrient-dense as raw cacao.
* Mainstream chocolate is junk food, with negative health affects attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added (eg: sugar).
Now that we’re all on the same page, the following properties of cacao are impressive to say the least, and good enough reason for me to keep on enjoying my daily dose of chocolate to help keep me looking and feeling happy, healthy and beautiful.
Cacao helps to increase the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brain that in turn promotes feelings of happiness. Cacao helps to raise the level of serotonin — the feel-good hormone — that acts as an anti-depressant.
Phenylethylamine, which is found in cacao, is what is released from the brain when we are in love, and acts as a mild mood elevator. Cacao also helps to stimulate the secretion of endorphins that produces a similar sensation after the “high” you feel after a long run.
Healthy and beautiful
Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested, including blueberries, red wine, and green tea. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Cacao is also rich in a number of essential minerals including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
In fact, cacao is thought to be the best source of magnesium, which is particularly relevant considering a large proportion of people are deficient in this mineral. As previously mentioned, cacao is rich in sulfur, the mineral that helps to promote healthy skin and build strong nails and hair.
I also just learnt that cacao helps to reduce your appetite. Who would have thought?!
Here’s the recipe for my homemade chocolate.
* 2 cups certified-organic raw cacao powder
* 1 cup certified-organic unrefined virgin coconut oil
* ½ cup certified organic hazelnut oil
* ½ cup agave nectar
* a pinch of Himalayan salt
* Mix it all together in a bowl and then put in the fridge to set.
It’s a great recipe to experiment with. Sometimes I add hemp powder, almonds, hazelnuts or maca powder.
You’ll never go back to conventional chocolate once you try the real pure thing — chocolate the way it should be.
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