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Benefits of Being a Chocoholic!

Cacao, or chocolate as it is better known as today, is an ancient superfood that has been enjoyed by many for hundreds of years. It’s a common and popular food, but is relegated to candy status because most chocolate we find on shelves today come in a processed form with added ingredients like processed sugar. It has been stripped of its healthful properties, and therefore is no longer healthy and should be regarded as candy. Many of the bad things associated with chocolate—such as weight gain, cavities, diabetes, or headaches—are actually associated with the sugar and dairy that are added to the chocolate and not the chocolate itself. However, true cacao in its raw state is such a healthful food and so nutrient dense that it has been called a ‘superfood.’

Raw cacao has many health benefits. For instance, it is one of the highest antioxidant containing foods on the planet. These antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals in the body—free radicals can cause a long list of problems from aging to cancer. Because our bodies rely so heavily on antioxidants to maintain good health, the more we can get from food, the better our health can be. Cacao is also high in several vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, and chromium. In fact, cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium in the world, which is important because magnesium is the most deficient mineral in the diet of the modern world. Magnesium is important for muscle relaxation, bowel function, and the heart and cardiovascular system.

Because cacao has so many healthful properties, there are naturally many health benefits, some of which include weight loss, because of its high chromium content; cavity prevention, from the theobromine in cacao, which kills the type of bacteria that causes tooth decay; regulation of blood sugar, which helps to prevent diabetes (also due to cacao's high chromium content); and maintenance of a healthy and strong cardiovascular system—antioxidants in cacao help to dissolve plaque buildup in arteries, thus helping to lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.

The health benefits of cacao are many, and therefore, regularly consuming raw cacao is a wonderful way to get vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants and other important substances that keep the body strong and well. So, the goal is not to avoid chocolate, the goal is to eat MORE of the right kind of chocolate! Below are some great recipes to help you diversify your chocolate consumption!

Chocolate Almond ANYTIME Pudding

  • filtered water for soaking dates
  • 4 soft Medjool dates, pitted (without pits, it’s about 3 ounces worth)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 cup (raw) almond milk
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch himalayan crystal salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds, for sprinkling on top just before serving*

Get the directions at Kristen's Raw

Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (or use soaked almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds etc.)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 very large frozen banana (or 2 small)
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey, agave, or maple syrup
  • dash sea salt
  • ¾ - 1 cup water
  • 4 ice cubes

Get the directions at My New Roots

The Raw Brownie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole walnuts
  • 2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup raw cacao
  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt

Get the directions at My New Roots

Raw Chocolate Milk

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 hour
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • pinch sea salt

Get the directions at Shutterbean

Raw Chocolate Cake

For the crust:

  • 2 cups raw almonds, 200 gr.
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours, 300 gr.
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup melted cacao butter
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • frozen fruits – cherries, berries, everything works

Get the directions at Nature Insider

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