Our nutrition expert Elisa Haggarty expounds the superfood properties of cacao and shares her healthy choc treat recipe.
1. Cacao has 40 times more antioxidant potency than blueberries. The antioxidants found in cacao fight free radical damage, which is a major contributor to inflammation and chronic disease.
2. Cacao is one of the highest sources of iron in the plant kingdom containing 7.3mg of iron per 100 grams. To aid iron absorption, pair cacao with foods rich in vitamin C like camu camu berries or oranges.
3. Raw cacao is rich in magnesium, which has hundreds of functions in the human body. Magnesium helps support glutathione production, relax muscles, improve brain function and also assists in metabolizing glucose. It’s little surprise cacao is one of the preferred treats of many athletes!
4. Raw cacao aids in mood regulation and promotes focus by influencing neurotransmitter function. The mighty cacao bean contains phenylethylamine (also known as PEA), an adrenal related chemical that’s naturally produced when we get excited and improves mood and focus. Cacao also contains anandamide which has been found to counteract depression and anxiety.
5.Cacao can be enjoyed guilt-free in a tasty smoothie. Simply follow this recipe.
Blueberry Cacao Smoothie
- ¾ cup blueberries
- ½ avocado
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (Vega or Designs for Health)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 handfuls raw spinach
- 1 tbs cacao powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 1 tbs cashew butter (or almond butter)
- 1-2 cups of water for desired thickness
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with raw cacao nibs for added crunch.
A note on chocolate…
Cacao is a raw form of chocolate, so when selecting chocolate bars try to keep to its most original form as possible. Remember, not all chocolate is created equal. Opt for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. Avoid bars that contain refined white sugar in favor of ones that are sweetened using honey, agave or palm sugar such as the organic antioxidant-packed options available from Fine & Raw Chocolate, Raiz The Bar, and Pana Chocolate.