Chocolate and a healthy diet might seem like two contradictory concepts. However, the key ingredient responsible for the distinct taste and aroma (essentially making chocolate, chocolate) is one of the healthiest foods on the planet!
It has been loved by Aztecs and Incas for centuries, and trust us when we say they knew a thing or two about growing, eating, and worshipping it. Legend has it the famous Aztec King Moctezuma would drink 50 cups of a special drink made with cacao every day!
So, what exactly is cacao?
Cacao comes in several different forms (butter, powder, nibs, paste) however all from the same source – cacao trees. Cacao trees are also known as Theobroma Cacao translating to food of the gods. Grown in Africa and Central America, cacao trees produce cacao pods, and laying inside these pods are the super healthy, versatile, and unique cacao beans.
It is these beans, ground up, that produce our Funktinoal Foods Cacao Powder, which still has all the goodies and nutrients in the original bean.
How do we get from cacao to chocolate?
Cacao is turned into chocolate through several stages of processing and with the addition of refined sugar (the enemy of gains). Interestingly, natural cacao has close to zero sugar content.
The level of cacao generally depends on the darkness of the chocolate. This, therefore, relates to the levels of goodness, which is why dark chocolate is healthier. Unfortunately, however, by the time it reaches its final stage, most store-bought chocolate retains very little of the cacao health benefits.
So, whilst it’s not advisable to eat tons of chocolate, you can recreate the delicious flavours (deeper and richer no less), by opting for cacao powder in baking or even in smoothies and porridge.
Cacao contains the essential minerals copper and magnesium promoting an active mind and supporting energy levels. Buzzing with antioxidants, it also protects your body from free radicals and helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels. It contains 66% of your recommended daily intake for copper, which contributes to the normal function of your immune system.
With fatty acids, protein, magnesium, zinc, and much more, the health benefits of cacao are endless.
Feeling down? Try cacao
Cacao contains tryptophan, an amino acid that your brain uses to produce serotonin. It also causes the brain to release endorphins, the same which are released during exercise. All you need to know is that it makes you feel good, relaxed, and happy. The purer the cacao, the more effective – which is why our cacao is rigorously tested and sourced from quality suppliers.
How to use it
Transform any bowl of porridge, smoothie, or protein shake into an indulgent chocolatey occasion with the simple addition of cacao powder. Our overnight oats come with a side of some serious gains in the form of our Vanilla Protein Blend.
For more adventurous recipes try out our Spirulina Cacao Energy Balls – the perfect vitamin and nutrient-dense snack for when you’re on-the-go. Or swap that cocoa powder in brownie recipes for cacao powder for a deeper, richer, and healthier final product.
Go crazy with Cacao!