Raw cacao superfood
Whilst backpacking Central America, I noticed that natural remedies were important and frequently used by the local people. They don’t turn to drugs for health, they look to nature. The Mayans consider cacao as ‘food of the Gods,’ but we would typically know it as a superfood.
What is Cacao? (ka·cow)
The raw cacao beans are seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. The beans are roasted and ground to produce cocoa, which after processing can be added with other ingredients to make chocolate products. The raw cacao beans are left to ferment and then to dry in the sun. The beans can be broken into little pieces called nibs or grounded to produce powder. The beans are grown in rainforests in Peru, Mexico and Ghana.
Cacao is not to be confused with coco / cocoa which is further processed. There are numerous health benefits of cacao. In fact, if there is one superfood you haven’t tried yet, nutritionists highly recommend the raw cacao (the unprocessed cacao bean).
- High in magnesium, fibre and rich in protein, calcium, thiamine, sulfur, zinc, copper, flavonoids and essential fatty acids
- Helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure
- Calcium helps build strong bones
- The antioxidant properties supports the cardiovascular and nervous system and lowers the risk of cancer.
- Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids (plant-based) than green teas, red wine and blackberries
- Helps blood circulation and maintains elasticity of arteries
Great news for chocolate lovers!
The raw cacao powder comes with an abundance of health benefits. You can consume cacao in many ways, including:
- As a drinking chocolate – Add 2 tsp of cacao to boiling water or almond milk in pan. Sweeten to taste with a natural sweetener like honey.
- Mix into smoothies, desserts, yoghurts, ice creams or even porridge.
- Use as a nutritious alternative to cocoa powder