Every chocolate has its roots in the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. Interestingly we know these seeds as cacao beans even though they are not legumes. Another point of interest that few consider is the fact that not all chocolates are equal. You may have heard it said that chocolate is good for you but beware, just because a chocolate tastes good, does not mean that it is.
From the processing of the raw ingredients to the various additives, every step in the making of your chocolate potentially ads to or detracts from the many wonderful benefits provided by the cacao bean. It all starts at the processing of the cacao bean itself.
The first processes will determine weather you will have cacao or cocoa in your chocolate. If you do not know the difference you may have thought that your eyes were deceiving you. But no, you read correctly and the difference comes from the way the cacao bean is processed.
So, what’s the difference?
Cacao is made when the unroasted cacao beans are cold-pressed to separate the cacao and the cacao butter. This process preserves the enzymes and the nutritional value of the cacao, making it the healthier option. Pure raw Cacao boasts with some extraordinary benefits.
On the other hand, when making cocoa, the cacao beans are first roasted at high temperatures. This process gives cocoa a darker colour and makes it less bitter but at the same time reduces the nutrients and kills the enzymes. Despite the almost total depletion of nutrients all hope is not lost for cocoa. Sources say that the level of antioxidants in cocoa is still surprisingly high giving it some great benefits as well.
However, to get the maximum benefit from your chocolate you will want to look for organic raw cacao which is a Superfood packed with some awesome benefits:
Fight cell degeneration
Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants compared to any other foods, even more than red wine, blueberries or goji berries. Just in case you are a stranger to antioxidants, these are the substances that protect the cells of our bodies against degeneration.
Good for your heart
Cacao beans are high in magnesium, a mineral that our bodies need for over 300 biochemical reactions. One of great importance is muscle and nerve function and this includes a steady heart rhythm.
Fight Iron deficiency (Anaemia)
As an Iron-rich food, cacao can help to reduce symptoms of Anaemia. A good 50 gram raw cacao chocolate bar can contain as much as 10% of your recommended daily iron intake. Remember you can maximise your iron absorption by pairing it with foods high in vitamin C.
Improves your mood
When we consume cacao it stimulates our brains to release two chemicals, phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is an adrenal chemical that we naturally produce when we are excited and it is responsible for raising your pulse and making you more focused.
Anandamine is a fatty acid also known as “the bliss molecule”, need I say more.
Keep you regular and promote weight loss
Yes cacao can help you lose weight. Raw cacao contains a lot of fibre that may make you feel fuller for longer. The fibre can also help keep your bowel movements regular helping to relieve constipation.
Vitamins and minerals
Moreover, Cacao is great source of vitamins, containing B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and E. It also contains Calcium, Sulphur, Zinc, Copper, Potassium and Manganese. By choosing raw cacao you will no doubt consume more of these nutrients than with cocoa.
But what about the commercial chocolate we all grew up with? Surly there must be some good in them too, right? Wrong! Take a look at the ingredients list. What is listed first? Sugar! That means sugar makes up the largest percentage of your chocolate bar. In most cases this is refined white sugar that has been stripped of all the nutrients and there is nothing good about that. In fact refined sugar is known to be the leading cause of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and other health problems.
Perhaps a good amount of full cream milk can be of benefit to you? Unfortunately, dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants and since they used cocoa instead of cacao, you can say goodbye to the little benefit you may have gained from that.
I wish I could stop there, but the ingredients do not stop there. Another common ingredient is emulsifiers. Emulsifiers by definition are substances that stabilizes an emulsion, in particular an additive used to stabilize processed foods. Studies are linking emulsifiers to deteriorating gut health due to its interference with gut microbes.
Another problematic ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). This is a sweetener that is made mainly from GMO Corn. During the manufacturing process genetically modified enzymes, alpha-amaylase and glucoamylase are added to the corn syrup to change some of the glucose to fructose.
HGCS has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, HGCS contains up to 570 micrograms of mercury, has been shown to promote cancer, is a chief contributor to obesity and can cause leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this, any chocolate containing HGCS – however sweet it may be, will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
It is clear that eating an average store bought chocolate is not what scientists had in mind when they published the findings on the benefits of chocolate. You will be better off not eating it at all.
When it comes to selecting a good chocolate, the saying, “less is more,” applies.
In the case of Soaring Free Superfoods’ Organic Raw Chocolates this is definitely true. With only Cacao Paste, Cacao Butter and Coconut Sugar being the base of each of their delicious chocolates you already have three excellent reasons to let down your guard and indulge. Your only problem would be choosing between the benefits of the superfoods added to each of their chocolate bars.
Dark Decadence: Just pure dark Chocolate containing Raw Cacao Paste, Coconut Sugar and Raw Cacao Butter.
Goji Berry Crunch: With added Goji Berry and Cacao nibs: Goji berry assists in weight loss, balanced blood sugar levels, improved eye sight and hearing.
Matcha Mint: with added Matcha Powder and Peppermint Oil: Matcha green tea is a powerful antioxidant and believed to help prevent cancer by inhibiting tumour growth. Green tea promotes weight loss, boosts energy, improves immune system function, and aids to reduce UVB radiation damage. Peppermint oil promotes gut health and boosts energy amongst other benefits.
O’Mega Ginger Raw Dark Chocolate: with added chia seeds, hemp seeds and ginger oil: Hemp and Chia seeds are high in O’mega 3 fatty acids and high in protein. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, supports healthy digestion and fights bad bacteria, reduces cholesterol levels and blood clotting. It also contains high levels of antioxidants and improves liver function.
Maca Xpresso: With added Maca and Maca Xpresso: Maca icreases energy, endurance and strength, balance hormones, support immune system, increase blood circulation to your skin and improves memory and mental clarity.
Longevity Coffee: With added Longevity Coffee™ Beans: Organic, low acid, toxin free, shade grown, hand-picked coffee beans are processed according to a proprietary method that results in the lowest chlorogenic acid coffee.
And if you cannot make up your mind over which one you should choose then simply get them all in the Raw Chocolate Gift Box.
Finally! Something that tastes great and is super good at the same time! Next time you crave for chocolate reach for something that will satisfy your taste buds and give your body what it really asked for – The goodness of real chocolate made from raw cacao and wholesome nutritious