Ha ha! I bet you never expected a heading like that from a health coach! You’ll be very happy to know that eating chocolate is in fact beneficial to your health! Yipee! What’s the catch? It has to be real chocolate, that is, real raw cacao and no nasties (sugar, dodgy dairy, artificial ingredients). You may question whether that actually exists and whether it tastes good, but I can guarantee you that it does and it does. I’ll share links below.
So, why is chocolate or cacao, as we’ll call it, so good for you?
- Raw cacao is one of the best sources of antioxidants of any food on the planet!
- Raw cacao raises levels of serotonin and endorphins in the body alleviating depression and promoting the feeling of well-being.
- Raw cacao has been show to reduce cravings and promote the feeling of fullness thereby aiding in weightloss.
- Recent studies have shown that raw cacao can help to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
- Cocoa flavanoids in have been recently shown to improve cognitive function (help you think better).
- Regularly eating cacao lowers your risk of dying from heart disease.
- Raw cacao is a mild stimulant that makes you more alert.
- Raw cacao has high levels of magnesium needed for good energy and needed for over 300 bodily processes. The modern diet is chronically deficient in magnesium.
- Raw cacao is safe for diabetics as it only elevates insulin levels very slightly and can also help promote insulin sensitivity.
- Some studies have shown that raw cacao may help athletes recover quicker from strenuous exercise.
Isn’t that totally awesome?!
So, where can we get real raw cacao from? Try your local independent health food store, or Wholefoods, if you happen to have one near by. My favourite producers of raw chocolate bars are the award winning Booja Booja, Om Bars and Conscious Chocolate. There are other brands out there, so try them out and work out which ones you love the most. (Any recommendations, send them my way!)
Avoid brands that contain dairy, agave syrup and anything else that sounds suspicious – apart from xylitol which is low GI, teeth friendly birch tree sugar. Dairy in chocolate has been shown to reduce prevent the absorption of certain nutrients in cacao so should be avoided.
If you want to make your own chocolates you can get cacao liquor or paste from here. If you haven't seen it already, here is my recipe for Ultra Rich Chocolate Bites in just 1min and 22secs!
FYI, cacao nibs are broken pieces of raw cacao and have a bitter and almost sour taste. Eaten with a home made trail mix they’re delicious!
Here’s a recipe for Raw Chocolate Milk – sublime!
Makes 2 glasses.
1 generous handful of almonds
½ vanilla pod
2-4 tblspn of raw cacao powder or cacao nibs or equivalent of cacao paste/liquor
1 tblspn of coconut butter
1 tblspn of lecithin (optional)
Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth. Serve with breakfast or as a snack.
Happy now? 🙂