Superfood Cacao: Back to basics
Here’s a super food you won’t be able to resist, chocolate! Everybody loves chocolate and we’re constantly spoilt for choices with the large array of chocolate selections available for us. Unfortunately commercial chocolate tends to be higher in sugar and butter that can increase our risk of obesity and diabetes, and cause other health issues. As a healthy alternative, try incorporating cacao powder in your diet instead.
Cacao is the mother of all ch ocolates as this is the basic raw material used before the beans are processed to become chocolate and coffee products. Scientifically known as Theobroma cacao L. this fruit is native to the Amazon, particularly in Peru and Brazil. The cacao bean has been touted as one of the world’s greatest super food for its superior nutrient content with its rich source of protein and fibre. With the addition of its mineral content including magnesium, calcium and potassium and vitamin-rich levels, it’s no question why this fruit is ranked high on the list of functional and beneficial foods.
Cacao also has the ability to enhance our emotional and mental state. Ever wondered why we crave chocolate or a cup of coffee when we need a perk-me-up? Or why we instantly feel a sense of happiness after snacking on chocolates? This is because of caffeine and theobromine naturally present in cacao powder. These ‘happy chemicals’ stimulate our adrenal system which trigger our emotions and also quicken our pulse rate so we become more focused and alert on our surroundings. This may contribute to the energizing spirit that all coffee and chocolate lovers seem to constantly have! But be warned, highly sensitive individuals may experience shakes and tremors if you have not been exposed to such concentrated levels of cacao.
Make that healthy change and include raw unprocessed cacao powder instead of chocolate powder in your smoothies and desserts for a more extreme nutritional punch! If you are just taking baby steps, say good bye to ordinary chocolate and try dark chocolate with cocoa solids between 40% and gradually move up from there. This is a definite cocoa snack your body will love!