Raw, unprocessed cacao is as healthy as it gets- and this is exactly what all chocolate starts out as. In its unprocessed form, it contains a plethora of nutrients that are lost during the processing into dark or milk chocolate. Not only are the candy bars you see today devoid of cacao’s nutrients, they have unhealthy additives like white sugar, artificial flavors, and trans fats added to them.
So why not get the benefits of the real stuff and make your own sweet treats? Raw cacao, usually sold as nibs or a ground into a powder, has some really powerful health benefits. According to studies published in “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” and the “Journal of Internal Medicine.”, it reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack. Cacao is rich in polyphenols, which serve as antioxidants and inhibit blood platelets from forming a clot. This superfood has been shown to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising your HDL (good cholesterol). It is rich in resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, and phenethylamine, the “love” neurotransmitter, that boosts mood and libido. Cacao’s high chromium and coumarin content help to balance blood sugar, prevent diabetes, and promote weight loss. Do you ever get chocolate cravings? This could indicate a magnesium deficiency- add in some raw cacao to get your magnesium fix!
Decadent Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding
1 cup flax, macadamia or almond milk (or whatever you prefer!)
1/3 cup chia seeds (heaping)
1.5 tbsp maple syrup (grade B if possible)
1.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ tsp real vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let sit for about 10-20 minutes, mixing occasionally, until it turns into a gel. Add in the maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla. Sprinkle with raw berries if desired. Serve cold and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
*Not a fan of chocolate? Hold the raw cacao and add a bit more vanilla and some fresh berries. (as pictured on right)
Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH
Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide
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