Everything you need to know about Cacao
You probably think that chocolate doesn’t have any place in a healthy diet. But unlike processed chocolate, cacao and cacao nibs are delicious and healthy. There is a big difference.
Cacao is nutrient dense, packed with essential minerals including magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, zinc, and brain-boosting flavanols. You can give your body a healthy boost whilst still indulging in a delicious treat.
Loaded with nutrients, cacao is hugely beneficial for your wellbeing, helping to absorb free radicals and protect against the harmful effects of oxidative stress.
What exactly is cacao?
Cacao beans are one of the most nutritious plants on the planet. Growing in Africa and Central America, Cacao trees produce cacao pods. When cracked open, the pods release cacao beans which can be used in many ways.
Cacao beans can be ground up to make cacao powder. When it hasn’t been processed or refined in any way, cacao powder still retains all the nutrients and goodness of the cacao bean.
What about cacao nibs?
Cacao nibs are essentially chopped up cacao beans. Cacao nibs are like delicious pieces of chocolate - without the added sugar. Our cacao nibs are from hand harvested, pure roasted organic cacao beans. The roasting process helps to produce their complex chocolaty flavour. Once separated from their husks they are roughly broken into small, crunchy little nibs.
Where does that leave chocolate?
Cacao has zero sugar. When cacao is transformed into chocolate, sugar is added during the process.
The nutritional goodness of chocolate depends on the cacao content. Generally, the darker the chocolate, then the higher the percentage of cacao. The more cacao, the more goodness packed in.
But if you want to reap all the health benefits of cacao, opt for cacao powder.
Cacao is a super source of magnesium which helps to increase your energy levels combatting against fatigue and support mental wellbeing and copper which supports your immunity.
How can cacao boost your mood?
Another bonus to cacao is that it's high in alkaloids (natural compounds found in plants). The alkaloids in cacao help us to feel good. So there’s a reason why eating chocolate always seems to make you feel better. That’s not all. Eating cacao before bed is a really good idea. The alkaloid content helps you to calm down and de-stress, perfect for helping you get a good night’s sleep!
What about cadmium levels in cacao?
Cadmium along with other heavy metals is found naturally in the soil but can be harmful to your health. Cadmium is not easily processed and therefore accumulates in the human body. It can have detrimental effects on the kidneys, lungs, bones, and possibly fetal development; it’s also classified as a probable human carcinogen. EU regulations came into effect in January 2019 which set upper limits on the cadmium content permitted in cocoa powder and chocolate. Naturya Cacao powder and Cacao Nibs are compliant with the criteria set out by EU regulations.
How can I enjoy cacao?
Add a teaspoon of cacao powder to your morning smoothie or sprinkle some cacao nibs on your breakfast bowl. Alternatively, indulge in your chocolate fix with these 3 recipes featuring our Organic Cacao powder and Cacao Nibs:
These energy balls are the perfect snack when you’re on the go or need an energy boost either pre or post-workout. They’re packed with superfoods including Spirulina which is rich in rich in vitamin B12 and plant-based protein. The list goes on to include Cacao powder, Goji berries, Chia Seeds, Maca powder and Cacao Nibs!
These brownies are so fudgy and indulgent. Adding Lucuma powder gives them with a deliciously naturally sweet caramel flavour.
The combination of bananas, avocados and cacao in this mousse make it deliciously creamy. Free from dairy and refined sugars, and loaded with energy boosting Maca, this mousse is the perfect guilt-free dessert!