Health Benefits of Raw Cacao & Delicious Black Bean Chocolate Cake Recipe June 06 2013 by Simone Denny
Raw Cacao - the most delicious way to get your antioxidants!
There is a lot of talk about raw cacao these days – so what is the all the hype about? The answer is twofold, firstly raw cacao is power packed with antioxidants plus an array of other health benefits and secondly it is such a delicious ingredient to use in cooking or raw food. Try our Black Bean Chocolate Cake for a taster and see what you think.
What is Cacao?
Cacao beans come from the Therobroma tree, which is found mostly in South America, Central America and Mexico. The Therobroma cacao tree literally translates to “cacao, the food of the gods” in the Greek language. Raw cacao can be used in a number of forms including, whole beans, nibs, powder and butter.
What’s the difference between raw cacao and normal baking cocoa?
Raw cacao (ka-cow) is not processed using heat, therefore maintains its nutrient dense profile. Instead of heating the Cacao beans they are dried at a low temperature. The heating process (which takes place when making baking cocoa and number of other refined chocolate products) can destroy some of the essential antioxidants and other healthy nutrients.
It is true that chocolate can be healthy for you but it has to be the raw unprocessed chocolate without refined sugar and fat. Combining the raw cacao powder with cacao butter and agave syrup is much healthier chocolate option. Loving Earth do a delicious range of raw chocolates, my personal favourite is this little raw chocolate snack called the Luvju Coconut Mylk Bar – scummy!
Health Benefits of Raw Cacao
It is sometimes hard to believe that something that tastes so good can also be so good for your health. Raw Cacao is high in Magnesium (which is an essential supplement in our daily diet, especially for the heart and brain) and is also high in sulphur (great for hair, skin and nails).
One of the most talked about health benefits of raw cacao is its extremely high antioxidant value. Cacao has a very high ORAC value. ORAC stands for ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity’ and is a scale developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. So what this means is eating cacao or other foods high in antioxidants, can help to stabilize and ultimately destroy free radicals in your cells and tissues.
Last but not least we can’t forget the ‘feel good factor’ that comes from cacao or chocolate. Raw cacao affects the brain by causing the release of certain neurotransmitters; these neurotransmitters can trigger the release for feel good hormones (i.e. serotonin) that, in turn, make you feel happy!
Try my personal favourite - Loving Earth Raw Cacao
If all this talk of cacao and chocolate is making you hungry, try the Nourishing Hub’s Bean Bean Chocolate Cake – Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy free - sooo good! For more inspiring food ideas or to stock up on raw Cacao and other Chocolate treats, head to the Nourishing Hub.