8 Reasons to Eat (Raw) Chocolate
By Candice Aiken.
Do you really need a reason to eat chocolate? REALLY!? Ok, I agree, sometimes I do too. But only when I am caught gulping down yet another raw cacao smoothie for the day, or when I am not so-elegantly munching down on an entire batch of my mini choc delights OR when I am busted gorging on the last piece of mint chocolate.
Cacao “come-downs” and all, I absolutely adore chocolate (and coconut, but we are here to talk about chocolate)! Thankfully this amazing brown goodness comes with a multitude of benefits, in fact, it is considered one of the most chemically complex foods on earth! So you now have every excuse to scoff those raw chockie desserts this Easter.
Here are 8 reasons to eat raw chocolate… right now:
1. BOOSTS ANTIOXIDANTS:
Raw cacao has a 10% antioxidant concentration level – which is 3 times more than green tea and 2 times more than red wine! This greatly benefits the cardiovascular system and aids the whole body health in general to prevent early aging. One thing to note, as soon as dairy milk is added, it cancels out the antioxidant effects by blocking absorption in the body.
2. INCREASES BRAIN FUNCTIONALITY:
Due to the very high levels of magnesium found in cacao (in fact, it’s the number one food source). The brain needs magnesium to build the protective myelin sheaths that insulate nerve fibres that networks the entire nervous system. Symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency include: confusion, irritability, muscular restlessness and difficulty concentrating or remembering. Feeling any of these symptoms? You know what to do now.
3. KEEPS YOUR HEART HEALTHY:
Cacao contains Theobromine which is a mild diuretic and cardiac stimulant. It can also be used to treat high blood pressure (this is also why you should never give your dog chocolate as they lack the enzymes needed to break down excess amounts of Theobromine and it can cause cardiac arrest). Cacao also contains healthy amounts of copper and potassium, both of which help to promote heart health.
4. SAFE FOR DIABETICS:
Raw cacao (without any sugars/dairy etc added) is safe for diabetics and can even be beneficial. It raises blood sugar in the body less than almost any other food. It has also been said to raise insulin sensitivity.
5. IT’S A MULTI-VITAMIN:
Raw cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. It is high in sulfur which helps in forming strong nails and hair. It also contains very high levels of iron which carries oxygen throughout the body to keep blood healthy. Raw cacao contains calcium as well which is essential for strong bones.
6. SEX DRIVE & ENERGY BOOSTER:
Raw cacao is a natural aphrodisiac that increases energy, endurance, physical strength, excitement and sex drive. This amazing stuff contains Phenylethylamine (likened to a “love chemical”) which creates feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria. Need I go on?
7. AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS:
Cacao suppresses the appetite which inevitably leads to weight loss. Wonder why nearly every weight loss product around contains cocoa powder? Now you know, because it decreases appetite! They don’t just add it for flavor, they add it because it really works!
8. MAKES YOU HAPPY:
Raw cacao contains significant quantities of the essential amino acid Tryptophan, which is crucial for the production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. When serotonin is enhanced, it acts as an anti-depressant, reduces anxiety and makes you happy, happy, happy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Certain properties appear in cacao when cooked which can make people allergic or bring on intense addictions!
Unfortunately, just like everything when not consumed in moderation, cacao has its (minor) downsides. Cacao acts as a bit of a stimulant, which in some people can negatively affect sleep. Just make sure you go easy, have some days off between consumption and much like coffee, limit intake after midday. It is suggested that daily consumption of up to 40g of raw cacao is considered the limit to reap the many amazing benefits.
In addition, ensure cacao eaten in its raw, natural state. As soon as cacao is heated, processed, melted, poked, prodded and touched, it starts to lose key nutrients – which is the reason for eating it in the first place!
I don’t know about you, but I’m off to gobble down my double choc brownies now.
♥ ♥ ♥
For further reading on cacao and some very unique recipes, I highly recommend getting your hands on ‘Naked Chocolate’ by David Wolfe.
• ‘Naked Chocolate’ by David Wolfe
Image credit: Patrizia Ferraglioni
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