Are you a chocoholic? Do you get anxious when there’s no chocolate in the house? Do you need to cleanse your pallet with chocolate after eating something salty? Does your favourite pizza have a chocolate base?
Good news! There is a healthier option.
Like chocolate, raw and unprocessed cacao (pronounced “cu-COW”) contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and containing almost no fat, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavour without the guilt. “For someone who has a chocolate tooth and is looking for heart or circulation benefits, it’s a good call,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian.
There’s a reason that the Greek name for cocoa—Theobroma—literally means, “food of the gods.”
This Amazonian superfood has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Antioxidants absorb free radicals (that come from pollution and toxins in our environment), which cause cell and tissue damage and can lead to diseases such as cancer.
On a plant-based/vegan diet and looking for iron? The search is over! Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg. Note the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so to get the maximum benefits you’ll want to combine it with some vitamin C.
Raw cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in the Western world. Magnesium is important for a healthy heart, and helps turn glucose into energy enabling your brain to work with laser-sharp clarity and focus. The reason why you might turn to a bar of chocolate during an all-nighter at your desk!
More calcium than cow’s milk, cocoa contains 160mg of calcium per 100g vs only 125mg per 100ml of milk.
A natural mood elevator and anti-depressant, cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression.
Serving cocoa in our smoothies and as a topping on our bowls at Juiced @ The Wicket all day every weekday, you have no excuse to enjoy the many health benefits that stem from this ancient South American food.