|Posted on February 20, 2011 at 3:55 PM|
I have always been a chocoholic. But due to the high sugar and fat content, along with other non-healthy ingredients added to conventional chocolate, I have needed to restrain myself.
Not so anymore.
Raw chocolate is a superfood. It is a natural food that has a tremendous phytonutrient content that can confer amazing health benefits. It has a very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score, which is an important property, as it denotes the ability to absorb free radicals from your body. This can be a very useful for providing protection of your body from free radicals that cause immune system challenges. So for those of us who are into detoxing and maintaining vibrant health, consider this a staple food.
Another benefit of chocolate was confirmed by a study carried out by researchers at Osaka University in Japan. It was found that parts of the cacao bean, the main ingredient of chocolate, thwart mouth bacteria and tooth decay.
They discovered that the cacao bean husk – the outer part of the bean which usually goes to waste in conventional chocolate production – has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and can effectively fight against dental plaque.
There is also a myth that chocolate causes cavities. Wrong! Foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates are the real cavity-causing culprit. Although fermentable carbohydrates are found in chocolate, the cocoa butter in chocolate coats the teeth, making it less likely to cause tooth decay. Chocolate desserts can be high in sugar, and in my opinion, the real culprit to dental decay is the sugar, not the chocolate. And of course, if you brush regularly, you shouldn’t have a concern.
For thousands of years, ancient Mayans, Aztecs and Incans have known about the amazing healing properties of chocolate (cacao), and they have used the beans in their daily cultural rituals as well as in their healing habits.
Actually, the seeds of raw cacao were held to be so sacred, legend has it that the Incans used cacao beans as money and they filled their treasury holds with tons of cacao beans.
Unfortunately, the positive benefit of this wonderful superfood is not widely known. Although, everyone enjoys chocolate, people do not consume it in its raw form for the maximum benefit that they can derive from it. Most chocolate that we eat in our desserts has been dutched, alkalized or processed, stripping most health benefits away from the chocolate.
So I have been experimenting with raw cacao for about 2 years, using it in new and diverse ways. It is great in smoothies, protein shakes, chocolate mousse, and baked goods. However, there is one simple recipe that I have made dozens of times for an easy healthy chocolate candy. If you like dark chocolate, give this recipe a try.
Raw Dark Chocolate with Nuts
½ cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
½ cup Organic Raw Cacao Powder
½ cup Grade B Maple Syrup or Honey/ or a mix of both equal to ½ cup total
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or ½ tsp Vanilla Bean Powder
¼ to ½ cup chopped nuts or cacao bits or ginger or anything else that you like in your chocolate bar (optional)
1. It is best to have the coconut oil in liquid form. If your find that it is solid in the jar, just place the jar in a basin of hot water, it will liquefy very quickly.
2. Mix the first 3 ingredients together until very smooth. There should be no lumps in the mix, and should be the consistency of thin pudding.
3. Add the vanilla.
4. Add the nuts or leave out as desired.
5. You can taste test the mix to see if you woulfd like it sweeter(add more maple syrup) or more dark chocolatey (add more cacao).
6. Pour this thin mix onto a greased wax paper laid on a small flat pan or cookie sheet.
7. Freeze for about 1 hour.
8. Remove from freezer when hard. Peel off wax paper. Break into small pieces. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, using as needed.
I have used this base recipe for coating pretzels, dried fruit and just about anything that you like chocolate on. Just leave out the nuts and you are good to go.
If anyone is interested in the recipe of the milk chocolate version that has no dairy, just let me know and we will post that recipe as well.
Raw cacao is a very nutritious superfood loaded with a great deal of antioxidants and healthy oils. A little goes a long way. A small piece in the morning can be used to replace the effects of coffee as well as satiate any junk food cravings. It is excellent to have when you need to study. Do not eat large quantities late in the day as this may keep you awake way past your bedtime.
This recipe is in a raw and organic state, so maximum benefits can be derived. It contains no bad fats, no dairy, no fillers, no preservatives and no refined sugar.
However, it is loaded with health promoting anti-oxidants and healthy omega 3 fats that provide natural energy, heart health, boosts brain function and immune system. It may even help with weight loss, as the satiation factor will decrease cravings.
Raw chocolate is an amazing delicious food. Add it to your daily diet for long-term health benefits. Your body and mind will thank you.
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