Chocolate lovers rejoice!
A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of superfoods. This is great news for those of us who are chocolate lovers, but the question is, are you actually eating real chocolate? The disappointing answer is most likely not. The studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar, they are referring to cacao.
Cacao beans are one of nature’s most potent antioxidant foods. Cacao powder is the basic and most important ingredient for making real chocolate.
So, What Is The Difference Between Cocoa And Cacao?
Cocoa is processed cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. Cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process of making cacao is minimal and preserves all the antioxidants, while roasting at high temperatures destroys them in cocoa.
Let’s take for example a popular brand: Hershey’s chocolates. Like other industrial chocolate makers, for the most part, their products aren’t really chocolate. During their manufacturing process, cocoa butter is mixed with other vegetable oils. This is a cheaper way of producing chocolate but the problem is the final product is something other than “real chocolate”. Most of them also contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup and use soy lecithin as an emulsifier.
Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Eat only less-processed chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao, recommends Joy DuBost, PhD, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Not only does dark chocolate have a higher concentration of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is also higher in added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Did you know that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from cacao?
Cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. It is also rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Did you know that cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well being? It is the same brain chemical (phenylethylamine) that is released when we experience deep feelings of love. Of the many flavonoids in cacao, two in particular, epicatechin and quercetin are believed to be responsible for the cancer-fighting properties. Eating real chocolate can ward off cancer!
7 Health Benefits Of Raw Cacao
- It can improve memory loss
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Improves vision
- Protects your nervous system
- Lowers blood pressure
- It can boost your mood
- Helps prevent cancer
Source: Eat local grown