I have a slight addiction to chocolate. Probably not the chocolate most Americans know and love (milk chocolate…gag), I’m in love with dark chocolate. The higher the cocoa, the happier I become. Not only is dark chocolate an absolute treat, but it really is good for you! Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and benefits your heart, brain and mood!
Lets talk about the ultimate dark chocolate….raw cacao. Raw cacao has significantly more antioxidant properties than processed dark chocolate. It is actually one of the richest sources of antioxidants out there in the wild. It is packed with vitamins and minerals and is a serious source of iron and magnesium. It also contains proteins, calcium, Omegas and dietary fiber. Dark chocolate also contains phenethylamine which plays a role in making us feel good, and in feeling love! (Maybe chocolate really is the answer…spreading love and positive vibes one consumer at a time)
Milk chocolate has been known as a culprit when it comes to weight gain, heart disease and other health problems. It is in fact the large quantities of sugar and dairy (such as milk and butter) that is added to otherwise healthy dark chocolate. Raw cacao has been proven to benefit the cardiovascular system and improve heart health. It can aid in reversing heart disease by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and minimizing plaque build up. It may also play a role in weight loss.
Raw cacao can come in the form of powder and the form of nibs. For one reason or another, the powder form may be more tolerable for those who aren’t hard core dark chocolate lovers (dark chocolate can be a bit bitter). This chocolate can be used in anyway any other chocolate could be used for. The powder is great for baking, cooking, seasoning, in smoothies, dusted on truffles and added to things like yogurt. I love using it to make my famous chocolate covered cherry smoothies and raw truffles.. Raw cacao powder also makes the best hot chocolate! (My husband and I also used it to brew our winter mocha stout beer) Cacao nibs can be melted and added to various baking and cooking recipes. They are great thrown into cookies (think chocolate chip, double chocolate chunk…oh yeah!), sprinkled on yogurt, in cereal or even on salads. I use a mixture of both to make my dark chocolate chunks of goodness (perhaps someday I’ll share the recipe for these gold mine treats). The possibilities are endless, and your body, mind and soul will thank you for making the switch from milk chocolate to the ultimate dark chocolate.
My favorite brand of raw cacao powder and nibs is Navitas Naturals. There are many brands out there so get out there and try a few. Find your favorite and get on that ultimate dark chocolate kick!