During a recent trip to Brazil I was able to truly satisfy my cacao “hunger”. In fact, the picture above was taken minutes after I arrived. I simply could not wait any longer.
Growing up in Brazil, cacao (or cocoa, a.k.a. chocolate) was a BIG part of my life. A few too many times I sat enjoying my cacao while my Grandmother shouted “save the nuts!”. As a child I did not understand what was the bid deal about the nuts, when the fruit itself was so delicious and sweet. Come to find out, this bitter nut had an incredible monetary value and quite a journey to become one of the most loved foods of all times, CHOCOLATE !
What I know for sure, is that cacao or cocoa in it’s nature stage is quite bitter, dark and very good for you. No wonder why is called Superfood. The less processed it is, the more beneficial to your health. To get the most of all it’s amazing benefits I recommend that you always choose a dark, unsweetened (or semi-sweet, if too bitter for your taste buds) and certified fair-trade brand, to show your support and respect for our people and the planet.
Try this delicious Chocolate Zucchini Brownie recipe!
What You Need To Know: Superfood Cacao
Here is the scoop on cacao and all it’s health-bringing benefits!
In its raw, unprocessed state, cacao is filled with nutrients and health benefits. This South American evergreen seed (which is harvested from the tree’s pods) is at the core of many well-loved desserts, but has actually been used for centuries in Mexico and Central and South America specifically for its healing, energizing properties.
Why you should try it
Cacao is not only a yummy dessert ingredient, but a rich source of many antioxidants and minerals. In its raw state, cacao raises levels of tryptophan and therefore serotonin, a neurotransmitter that releases mood-boosting endorphins, and provides a sense of calm throughout the body. Its antioxidant flavonoids promote optimal cardiovascular health as well as fighting free-radical toxins. Manganese and iron oxygenate the blood, magnesium balances brain chemistry and sulfur builds strong nails, hair and skin. No wonder it makes us feel so good! But the number one reason you should try cacao? It’s delicious!
I love to use cacao in recipes as either powder or nibs. Add rich cacao powder to a smoothie, like this calming mineral-rich banana whip-up, or throw in to a sweet, yet nutritious indulgence like raw cacao pudding. For an alternative to chocolate chips, try cacao nibs in everything! My favorite is the cacao cookies which I have been enjoying everyday since I brought a big batch home with me 🙂
This this energizing Chocolate Almond Energy Balls recipe!