CACAO – A Super food.

CACAO – A Super food.

Cacao is wonderful food to use in our diet. Most people know of it as the beans used to make chocolate. The beans come from the cacao plant called Theobroma cacao. The name comes from the Greek word ‘Theos’ meaning God and ‘Broma’ meaning Food, hence it is called the ‘Food of the Gods’.

 

Cacao is often considered a Superfood because it is incredibly rich in nutrients including protein, fats, carbohydrates, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and sulphur to name but a few.   By incorporating superfoods or nutrient dense foods into our diet we greatly nourish our body.  It is a pretty easy prescription for increasing health – adding something that tastes like chocolate into our diet!

 

There exists some confusion between cocoa and cacao powder. Cocoa is the  Anglicised way of spelling cacao and also refers commonly to the dried powder made from grinding the cacao beans, generally with the cacao butter removed.

 

As interest in the nutritional properties of cacao has grown recently a greater distinction between cacao and cocoa has been made. Cacao is now promoted as ‘raw’ which means it has a greater nutrient profile.   Cocoa powder is generally heated in processing and hence has a lower nutrient profile.

 

Health benefits of cacoa include:

 

Antioxidants: Cacoa is considered to have a higher antioxidant status than blueberries and goji berries and hence protects our body from free radical damage. It is a wonder for antiaging!

Phenethylamine: Cacao contains phenethylamine which is related to beneficial mood effects and is the reason chocolate is often associated with LOVE!

Magnesium: Cacao is a wonderful source of magnesium which is beneficial for all apsects of health including energy production, muscle relaxation, cardiovascular health to name a few!

 

Cacao in the diet:

Chocolate blissballs as seen in our recipe section is an easy way to get this antioxidant rich food into your diet in the form of a delicious treat.

Another easy way is to replace your morning cup of coffee with a cacao drink. Try 1 tsp of cacoa with hot water, milk (coconut, oat, rice or dairy) and a little stevia to sweeten if desired.

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