Is it true? Is chocolate really a health food? Yes! Chocolate really IS a health food! It can be a breakfast food, and it can be helpful in reducing weight!
But before I explain why it is so healthy and all the wonderful health benefits of eating chocolate – I have to clarify one, itty bitty little minor detail: it is RAW chocolate we are talking about here, not the average chocolate bar from the corner store.
But wait – aren’t they the same thing?? I’m so glad you asked! The answer is yes, and no.
- Yes – because ALL chocolate is made from the same base ingredient, which is raw cacao (also commonly known as cocoa beans).
- No – because the commercial chocolate bar from the corner store is no longer a raw, unrefined, wholesome and nutritious product. It has been highly processed and cooked, and has many things added to it – sugar, dairy products and artificial flavorings to name just a few. Cooking raw cacao (pronounced ca-cow) and adding processed foods destroys its nutritional value.
What exactly is raw cacao?
Raw cacao is the seed or nut of an interesting fruit tree that grows in the jungle. This tree flowers and produces pod-like fruit all year long. The natural raw chocolate seeds have a long history and have been called the “food of the gods”.
So what makes raw chocolate such a healthy food?
Here are some of the nutrients it contains and the healthy benefits we receive when we consume raw cacao:
- Antioxidants (including resveratrol – like in red wine) Antioxidants keep us healthy by neutralizing free radicals in our bodies, which protects us from age related health conditions and diseases.
- Magnesium – a very important mineral that supports the heart, brain function, muscles of the colon, helps build strong bones, and increase our body’s alkalinity.
- Iron – a very important mineral for keeping our blood healthy
- Chromium – helps to balance our blood sugars.
- Manganese – a trace mineral that works with iron to increase oxygen in our blood.
- Zinc – important for our skin, liver, pancreas and our immune system, as well as playing an important role in many of our body’s enzyme reactions.
- Copper – good for our blood and our immune system.
- Vitamin C – helps the body to absorb iron and supports the formation of collagen, which is needed for growth and repair of tissue cells, bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. The vitamin C is totally destroyed when chocolate is cooked.
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids – can help improve blood cholesterol levels, and can help the body’s insulin levels and blood sugar control. According to David Wolfe (in his book Superfoods) “all cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega 6 fatty acids (trans fats) that can cause an inflammatory reaction”.
- Other nutrients include:
- Phenylethylamine (PEA),
- Methylxanthines (Caffeine and Theobromine).
It’s sugar free – a weight loss food!
There is no sugar in raw cacao beans. The fat content is close to 50%, but is still lower than most other nuts. There is no evidence that links raw cacao to obesity. In fact – it has been considered a weight loss food because it contains minerals and PEA (Phenylethylamine) that turn off appetite.
The very best way to get healthy, nutritious raw chocolates or chocolate bar is to make it yourself – it’s really quite easy to do!
When making your raw chocolates or chocolate bar – be sure to use pure ingredients that are organic and not GMO (genetically modified). Do not use unhealthy vegetable oils, chemical sweeteners or dairy products in your chocolate creation, as these will be counter-productive and essentially ruin the health aspect of your nutritious raw chocolate. Use a minimal amount of a healthy sweetener and natural (non-artificial) flavoring.
Raw chocolate is healthy for everyone – even kids!
Who knew that the right kind of chocolate bar could curb our appetite, help our heart, our brain, blood, cell tissues, teeth, bones, liver, pancreas, immune system AND protect us from the damage of free radicals! It has so many nutrients including fiber, it could easily be part of a wonderfully delicious breakfast, contrary to what our parents taught us! So amazing! There is a lot of nutritional power packed into a relatively small, unassuming brown bean (nut) from the jungle!
Interested in learning more about raw cacao? Want to learn to make your own customized healthy raw chocolate bar? Contact me!
Books by David Wolfe: Superfoods and Naked Chocolate
Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved