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Cacao: Health Benefits, Tips and Product Picks!

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Sweet, sweet…err bitter, raw cacao.

I love the stuff! But milk chocolatey sweet it ain’t. If you are looking for a rich, real, unadulterated taste sensation that is ram-packed full of antioxidant goodies, however, cacao is your poison.

Native to the Americas, cacao comes from the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. A cocoa fruit, or pod, has a rough and leathery rind, and is filled with sweet pulp and many seeds. The seeds, or beans, are what eventually become our addiction: chocolate.

Cacao is often confused with cocoa. But they are vastly different. You see, cocoa is most often roasted, and cacao is most often raw, fermented and dried. And what’s the diff between cacao powder and cacao nibs or beans? Well with the powder, the fat or cocoa butter, has been pressed out. That’s all.

So we eat chocolate because it tastes good. But the bonus is that the bean from which we make this favorite confectionery is highly nutritious; packed full of potassium, selenium, magnesium and B vitamins. Cacao is a top source of antioxidants that may help lower risk of heart attack and certain cancers, and also might reduce inflammation!

Now I know I don’t need to convince anyone to start adding a piece of dark chocolate to their daily diet. But what I will do is suggest some interesting ways in which you can begin to incorporate raw cacao power or nibs, the simplest and cleanest forms of this super food, into recipes in order to reap the most benefit:

  • Mix powder into smoothies
  • Use powder in raw desserts as you would cocoa powder
  • Blend powder with warm almond milk or water and honey for a raw take on hot chocolate
  • Add nibs or powder to your mole sauce
  • Mix nibs or powder it into your morning oatmeal with a spoonful of coconut oil (my personal fave)
  • Blend powder with avocado and honey/dates for a raw pudding; top with nibs!

Or try one of these amazing recipes!

Now get shopping, and then get it into ya!

1. Navitas Naturals, Cacao Powder, Organic

Nutiva I use this product in my everyday breakfast smoothie. It is smooth, easy to mix, and has no gritty texture. Since 2003, Navitas Naturals has been providing consumers with organic superfoods. The company is committed to socially responsible business practices, with direct purchasing partnerships and strong belief in fair trade economics.

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