Have your chocolate and eat it too!

Raw cacao powder is made by grounding cacao beans and are actually bitter in taste. Wait... bitter?! But aren’t chocolates made from cacao beans too? Well... Cacao beans are transformed to the chocolate we love by adding sweetener and dairy, but the medicinal value that chocolate is prized for has nothing to do with the sweetener or dairy, and everything to do with the cacao content. What makes cacao so “super” is that it’s loaded with flavonoids, which act as powerful antioxidants. Research shows that cacao can be beneficial to cardiovascular heath and brain health. It is also rich in zinc, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In the raw, cacao is low in fat and sugar.

Next time you are baking, reach for the real deal. Raw cacao powder is minimally processed allowing it to retain high levels of antioxidants, unlike dutch-process powders, like most ones found in grocery stores. These have been treated to enhance color and smooth the flavor, yet by doing so it significantly reduces the amount of antioxidants. Like most things, chocolate in moderation is good for you. Keep in mind that not all chocolates are created equal. When selecting a chocolate bar, choose high quality dark chocolate containing at least 70% cacao, rather than the popular milk chocolate option. Better yet, choose raw cacao over dark chocolate to maximize the benefits of this amazing seed! Try my guilt-free, processed sugar-free chocolate truffle recipe: 5 Ingredient Real Chocolate Truffle. They’re easy, fast, tasty, and made entirely of real food. Let me know how it goes!

For additional reading, checkout the following links: http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-chocolate http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-10-cocoa-producing-countries.html http://ecosalon.com/chocolate-strange-bizarre-and-weird-facts-and-uses/ http://cocoarunners.com/explore/bean-to-bar/

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