Raw Chocolate is one of the best ways to curb any sweet tooth craving! Not only is it a great healthy alternative, its super easy to make and tastes great too! This is a god send if you have a soft spot for chocolate, like me.
You may have previously heard that chocolate is bad for you. This can be true if the chocolate contains sugar, dairy and other nasty additives. But, you’ll be happy to know that raw chocolate has many health benefits. The health benefits come from the cacao component of the raw chocolate as you know it. These health benefits date back as far as 3000 years. The health benefits come from the abundance of antioxidants and nutrients found in the cacao.
Cacao is full of flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants. Studies show that cacao has significantly greater antioxidant content than that of ant other food source in the world. In fact, up to a whopping 30-40 times more! Due to these findings, cacao has been branded a ‘super fruit’. This is great news for all the chocolate lovers out there (me included)!
Antioxidants are important for our longevity, as they help remove free radicals. Free radicals can cause many issues within the body; ageing, cancer, heart disease and inflammation to name a few. By consuming antioxidants we can remove free radicals and prevent problems, such as high blood pressure. There has actually been a study which showed that the more chocolate you eat, the better your longevity.
It also contains chemicals that act as appetite suppressants and mood boosters. It is no wonder chocolate can make you feel so good! You can lose weight and feel happy with every bite of raw cacao.
Cacao contains the highest levels of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is needed for a healthy heart, muscles, bones, mood and mineral regulation. The scary thing is, that most of us are deficient in magnesium as our bodies don’t produce it. We can only get magnesium from a wide variety of foods and supplementation.
You may be shocked at this, but cacao has more calcium than cows milk! Surprisingly, calcium does not only come from dairy, but from many plant foods also. This is great news for those of us who are dairy sensitive or vegan.
Again, another surprising fact, cacao has the highest amount of iron compared to any other plant food. Amazingly, it has three times the amount of beef and lamb. However, there are two types of iron, heme and non-heme, which are absorbed at different rates. Heme iron is absorbed at a rate of 20-30%, where non-heme is absorbed at around 5-12%.
Meat is a combination of both heme and non-heme, whereas plant foods are non-heme only. Cacao contains non-heme iron, meaning, absorption of iron is at the lower end. To get greater absorption of the iron from plant based foods, you can consume vitamin C along side. Similarly, to avoid iron absorption being blocked, there are some foods you should avoid eating with iron rich foods. Turmeric and green tea being two examples. However, those who suffer with haemochromatosis, should add iron blocking foods with iron rich foods.
In addition to the above nutrients, cacao also contains;
Even better, cacao is great for women’s health! It helps in balancing hormones, and therefore regulating menstrual cycles and moods. Additionally it can act as an aphrodisiac for both males and females.
If the above health benefits has not persuaded you to add some cacao to your weekly diet, then surely the taste will.
I just love using cacao in my recipes. I have so far made; brownies, cookies, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate cups, protein bars, cake, muffins, truffles, brownie cheesecake, & flapjacks. Wow, I didn’t realise it was so many! There will definitely be more cacao recipes to come.
There are a few important aspects to consider when consuming chocolate:
Vegan, Paleo, GF, DF
Firstly fill a pan 1/4 full with water and bring to the boil. Place a glass bowl into the pan. Assure the water only comes half way on the bowl
Place cacao butter and coconut oil into the glass bowl and melt gently on a medium to low heat. Do not melt on a high heat as it will destroy the nutrient benefits of the cacao
Once melted, remove from the heat. Add the maple syrup and stir well
Slowly add the cacao powder, stirring continuously until smooth and combined.
Then pour into a chocolate mould. Make sure your chocolate mould is on a tray so it doesn't spill when you are putting it in the fridge. If you don't have a mould, you can pour the chocolate onto a baking sheet lined tray.
Optional - for a sweet contrast to the bitter chocolate, add a raspberry or blueberry in each chocolate.
Then pop the chocolate into the fridge or freezer for 20-30 mins until firm.
Ingredient Links – Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. All commissions go towards ingredients to produce new recipes for you lovely people. Thanks
Don’t forget if you recreate any of my recipes I would love to know! Use the #refinedhealth and tag me in your pictures on Instagram