For those who love chocolate, then no doubt you will be familiar with the word cacao (which is pronounced as cu’cow). Cacao beans are found on trees which were once domestic within South America.
These days however, cacao trees can be found all over the world. The beans are then harvested and used to make chocolate.
The modern day process to make chocolate goods mellows out the flavor and takes away some of the health benefits too.
You might realize upon biting raw cacao that it tastes bitter compared to that chocolate you ate yesterday. This is because it has not been through the full process of making a delicious candy bar yet.
If you are interested in consuming raw cacao, then you may be wondering if there are any benefits of doing so. Fortunately for you, there are plenty!
In this article we shall be looking at what the benefits of chocolate and raw cacao are. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take a look – you might be surprised!
What Is Raw Cacao?
Raw cacao, which some people refer to as cocoa, is chocolate in its purest form after being a bean. When the beans themselves have been cold-pressed rather than roasted, they do not become altered.
This means that they keep all of their benefits compared to if their state was changed, for example through roasting.
When the beans are cold pressed, the fat is also removed. This is what creates cacao in butter form. This can then be melted using something like a dehydrator or an oven to create edible cacao bars and used within desserts (see also: How To Create A Dessert Table).
What Forms Is Raw Cacao Available In?
The majority of people use raw cacao powder. This is because it is readily available and can be used in many different ways.
For example you can add it to smoothies or protein shakes, or even add it to desserts. However, you can also purchase raw cacao as nibs too.
The nibs need to be blended to add to smoothies and other drinks, but they are perfect to eat on their own or alongside a delicious dessert. You may find that your smooth drink has a slight grit-like texture to it though.
Are There Any Benefits To Eating Raw Cacao?
It is often said that eating raw cacao in place of regular chocolate gives you a guilt-free way to enjoy such an indulgence.
And you know what? Whoever said that is correct. While regular chocolate is often highly processed with serious amounts of sugar added to it, raw cacao is a much better choice.
Want to know why? Read on to find out the benefits of eating raw cacao.
Has A High Amount Of Iron
A lot of us are not getting the right amount of iron that our body needs. Want an easy way to get it? Yeah, you guessed it, raw cacao can help.
For those who are on a plant-based diet, you may struggle to get iron altogether as a lot is found within red meat. Cacao is a good source of iron due to it having 13.9mg of it per every 100g.
Comparing this number to the likes of spinach (3.6g), and lamb or beef (2.5g), raw cacao rates very highly.
Obviously, you will not be eating 100g of raw cacao in one go, but it certainly adds some iron to your diet and in a very tasty way.
However, because raw cacao is said to be non-heme like every other plant based form of iron, you will need to eat food rich in vitamin C too. One easy way of doing this is by adding raw cacao powder into an orange based smoothie.
Includes More Calcium Than That In Cow’s Milk
Very surprisingly, raw cacao has more calcium within it per 100ml compared to that of cow’s milk. For every 100ml, you will receive 160mg of calcium in raw cacao and 125mg of calcium in milk.
To say raw cacao is dairy free, this may be a tasty alternative to get calcium rather than investing in nut milks which have calcium artificially added.
Contains More Antioxidants Compared To Blueberries
We all know that blueberries are considered to be a superfood due to the incredible amount of antioxidants within them. Well, prepared to be shocked.
Raw cacao has more than 40 times the amount of antioxidants within it compared to blueberries.
This measurement of antioxidants was done using an ORAC score. It measured the food’s antioxidants ability to be able to absorb the free radicals within the atmosphere.
This could be via general toxins, the radiation of the sun, and pollution. These can cause tissue and cell damage, as well as bring on cancers and other diseases.
The ORAC score was 98,000 per 100g of raw cacao compared to a low score of 2,400 for every 100g of blueberries. That is a big difference.
Lots Of Magnesium
Raw cacao has a high amount of magnesium too which is something a lot of people are deficient in. Magnesium plays a big part in making sure the heart is healthy, and that we are able to turn the glucose we consume into usable energy.
Is A Natural Antidepressant
Raw cacao is considered to be a natural antidepressant due to the fact it includes the neurotransmitters tyrosine, serotonin, phenylethylamine and tryptophan.
All of these are related to how we feel when it comes to happiness and our overall well being.
If you are looking to eat some raw cacao, then it is no wonder that you have stumbled across this article. You may be surprised to hear that consuming raw cacao is not only possible, but there are also many benefits to doing so.
You could be helping to keep your heart healthy by enjoying this raw version of chocolate. It also contains large amounts of calcium, antioxidants and magnesium.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and indulge in some raw cacao!