Raw Food Health: For the Love of Cacao
by Kelly Mara
For the love of cacao! Everything from what is cacao? to its difference from cocoa. A chocoholics guide to eating cacao the healthy way—in the form of a sinful green drink.
You can change this girl’s diet all you want, but if you exclude chocolate, I won’t be able to stick to it! The funny thing is, that I wasn’t ever really a “chocolate person” before I found out how good cacao can be for you.
What is Cacao?
One of the first things that I came across when I started cleaning up my diet was recipes that used cacao. What is cacao? I’d only ever used or heard of cocoa!
Cocoa was invented by a Dutch man name Casparus van Houten in 1828. He used a hydraulic press to remove a lot of the fat content from roasted cacao beans which were then pulverized into cocoa powder. His son later added alkalized salts to the powder which is where we get Dutch Processed cocoa powder.
Cacao, on the other hand, is a natural chocolate that had not been processed. In its raw form, it still contains all of its valuable vitamins and minerals.
Health Benefits of Cacao
Raw cacao is good for you! Scientists are still studying all of the properties of raw cacao and are discovering new things about it all the time. But so far, here’s a few of the reasons why you might consider adding it to your diet or indulging in it more!
- It’s one of the most concentrated naturally occurring sources of magnesium.
- Contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants compared to any other foods. Especially cacao powder.
- Contains theobromine, which dilates blood vessels and has been proven to be an effective cough remedy. It’s also a natural pick me up without a caffeine crash.
- Contains phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is a chemical our brains release when we are happy or excited. Cacao is one of two naturally occurring sources of PEA, the other is blue green algae.
- It also contains: Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and E, Iron, Chromium, Zinc, Copper, Omega-6 fatty acids and much more.
Chocolate Green Drink
There is no better way, to me, to start the day than with a sinfully delicious chocolate green drink. You get a pick me up from the theobromine in the cacao, not to mention a whole lot of antioxidants and a super iron boost from not only the cacao but also the greens.
- 3-4 Large handfuls of Swiss Chard
- 1-2 Bananas, fresh or frozen
- 2 Dates, pitted and soaked in water
- 2.5 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
- 1-2 Cups Water or Nut Milk
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary. Optional: add some spirulina or chlorella for a super feel good boost, thanks to the PEA.
About Keely Marra
Kelly Marra is the kitchen and health conscious force behind RawLifeCoaching.com. She spends her time working in her ever expanding garden, creating new, healthy and delicious recipes in the kitchen and playing board games with her husband. With free time she loves to hike and take photos of everything.
Tags: cacao, cacao powder, green drink, health benefits of cacao, Raw Food Recipes, what is cacao
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