For years cocoa powder has been a firm favourite on our supermarket shelves and kitchen cupboards alike but unfortunately traditional cocoa powder is heavily processed, and is therefore stripped of it’s nutrients and to make matters worse, often ends up combined with other refined ingredients such as sugar, vegetable oils and dairy products, meaning that the finished product possesses little to no nutritional value. Cacao powder however is the purest form of chocolate available so packs in all of the benefits that your favourite dairy milk bar doesn’t; from high levels of potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc to its ability to prevent ageing and even fight tooth decay, cacao powder is truly the most delicious way to supercharge your day.
Eating healthily definitely doesn’t mean that you have to ditch the chocolate so whether you add cacao powder to your oats, smoothie or batch of cookies, you’re sure to boost your health whilst satisfying all of those chocolate cravings.
5 reasons to eat more Cacao Powder
As if you even needed another reason to eat more chocolate anyway?
- Rich in Antioxidants Cacao powder is one of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet and contains 40 times more than the humble blueberry! Catechins protect cells from premature oxidation, thus reducing the effects of ageing and keeping us looking younger for longer. But Cacao doesn’t just help us to look good on the outside; no heart disease drug could compare to the protective benefits of raw cacao as flavanols protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke whilst polyphenols reduce the levels of bad cholestrol and prevent hardening of the arteries. And cacao has even been proven to be an effective blood thinner, making it just as powerful as a daily aspirin!
- Contains More Calcium than Cow’s Milk Whilst many are quick to presume that it’s impossible to source calcium on plantbased diet, it really couldn’t be easier when you’ve got a raw bar of chocolate in your hand! Raw cacao contains 160mg calcium per 100g compared to milk’s 125mg – helping to keep your bones and teeth strong, naturally.
- Highest Ranking Source of Iron Cacao contains a bounty of minerals including potassium and zinc but most surprisingly, it boasts a higher iron content than red meat, making it the richest source of iron known to mankind! Iron is essential for maintaining healthy skin hair and nails, warding off anemia and contributes towards a normal functioning immune system.
- Boosts Mood It’s true, chocolate really does make you feel better! Cacao has been proven to boost levels of serotonin – the happiness hormone, which helps to restore feelings of well being. Cacao also contains anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule, which helps to create a feeling of euphoria. And ever wondered why everyone gives chocolate on valentines day? That’s because phenethylamine is another mood enhancing compound present in cacao, which triggers the release of endorphins and nuerochemicals which are only other wise released during sex, thus boosting libido and making cacao a great aphrodisiac!
- Combats Fatigue Raw Cacao is an amazing source of magnesium, which is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium helps to protect against osteoporisis and lowers blood pressure but is most essential in order for the conversion of glucose into energy, so next time your mum tells you that you can’t have chocolate for breakfast – tell her she’s wrong!
Cacao is a superfood that you really won’t want to stop eating and when it’s got so many health boosting benefits, there’s really no reason too! The list of possible uses is endless but if you do happen to be stuck for ideas then you’ll have no trouble incorporating more cacao into your diet by following the recipes below.
5 uses for Cacao Powder
- Whip up an indulgent breakfast of chocolate protein oats – or if you’re struggling for time try the overnight version instead!
- Make a batch of mocha protein bars for a post workout chocolate fix.
- Heat in a pan with almond milk, maple syrup and almond butter for a delicious superfood hot chocolate.
- Add a tbsp (or two) to your morning smoothie to fight fatigue.
- Blend with chickpeas and maple syrup for a sweet dessert hummus.
What are you favourite ways to enjoy cacao powder? Leave them in the comments below or let me know on Instagram @nourishingyas x