Image Courtesy: Duncan Hull
If you’ve ever wondered about the magical benefits and experience of eating chocolate in its natural form, if you are a person who needs his or her chocolate fix occasionally (who doesn’t?!), and if you are really concerned about your health (who isn’t?!), you need to take a closer look at what really makes up ‘real chocolate’. Again, if you are a health conscious person – that I’m sure you are – as you’re reading this article, there is a strong chance that you’ve already heard about dark chocolate being healthier than the regular sweet milk chocolate, lovingly gobbled by so many.
The Difference Between Cacao & Cocoa
To understand the health benefits of raw chocolate, it is important to know the difference between cacao and cocoa. Most people have no idea what REAL chocolate is — it’s raw cacao.
In order to make the ‘regular’ chocolate that we eat, the process starts with raw cacao beans. The raw cacaos are first dried and then roasted, giving us cocoa. Further, the cocoa is combined with sugar and fats and the original cacao beans are no longer recognizable. However, all this processing makes cacao lose most of its beneficial nutrients and antioxidant properties – and all you’re left with now is sugar and fat, with all their accompanying health problems.
In order to buy the ‘real chocolate’, you’ve to make sure that you are buying ‘raw cacao’ or ‘raw chocolate’. As opposed to the processing mentioned earlier, in its raw form, cacao beans are only fermented and dried, not roasted. It is these raw cacao beans that manage to retain their antioxidant value and thus can prove to be a superfood.
Health Benefits of Raw Chocolate
“Raw cacao powder has nearly four times the antioxidant content of regular dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries and 119 times more than bananas”.
For chocolate’s true benefits, it’s time to ditch the foil and get ‘real’ – By Angela Wintle – Daily Mail, UK
- Raw chocolate’s high level of antioxidant is beneficial to our health in more ways than one:
- They neutralize free radicals in the body from pollution and sun exposure, that cause damage to healthy body tissue
- It is also suggested that they help in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation
- Provide protection against cardiovascular diseases
- May, potentially, protect against cancer
In addition, raw chocolate or cacao contains calcium, carotene, copper, fibre, iron, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C, and zinc.
A Bitter-Sweet Outcome
Now that you’re ready to consume the amazingly healthy raw chocolate, a note of caution is necessary. Please be forewarned that this raw form of chocolate is NOT sweet like your regular one. Actually, it is bitter in taste and so, the raw cacao beans might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
However, if you have decided to avail the health benefits listed earlier, you should at least try to give it a shot. By doing so, you’ll be introducing a superfood into your diet and getting rid of the ‘imposter’ chocolate that you had been enjoying till now. Thankfully, though, there are a number of recipes available now that will preserve all it’s good qualities while making it pleasantly edible.
Once you’ll develop a taste for cacao beans, you will find it difficult to stand the sweet and buttery taste of the unhealthy milk chocolate. And, isn’t it better to find healthy replacements like raw chocolate than to resort to painful measures like deprivation dieting etc, in order to cleanse your body?
David Askaripour, a prominent blogger based in New York, writes on the subject of natural healing among other things. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Television Talk Shows, books and local news channels.