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Raw cacao or dark chocolate is recognized as a superfood because of its powerful antioxidant benefits, cancer protection and many beneficial vitamins. There are multiple purposes behind partaking in this delicious dark chocolate. There are commonly recognized negative consequences associated with eating excess, processed dark or milk chocolate; these consequences include diabetes, weight gain and tooth decay. These negative consequences are the result of the addition of excess sugar, dairy and fillers that are added to the chocolate during the cooking process. But, these negative consequences are simply not an issue for individuals enjoying raw cacao or dark chocolate. The health benefits associated with partaking in raw cacao actually include weight loss, healthy teeth and regulated blood sugar.

Raw cacao fruit

Raw cacao fruit

History Behind Dark Chocolate

The scientific name for cacao is Theobroma. The popularity and value of this super food goes back to ancient times. The earliest documentation of the use of the cacao bean goes back to 1100 BC. The Maya and Aztec cultures used the dark chocolate as currency, and it was used in their religious events as an offering to the gods. Today, the majority of the world’s crop of cacao chocolate is produced in West Africa. These sensitive trees are able to grow in a limited geographical zone. This delicious, natural sweetener has continuously grown in popularity around the world, and it is utilized in many deserts and sweets. The most popular chocolate is processed with the addition of dairy and sugar; however, this delicious dark chocolate is highly beneficial when eaten in its raw, natural form. The raw cacao bean is recognized in the health arena as a super food.

English: Dark chocolate. Español: Chocolate negro.

English: Dark chocolate. Español: Chocolate negro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Multiple Benefits of Raw Cacao

Multiple health benefits are associated with eating raw cacao. The dark chocolate preserves antioxidants and provides an unlimited resource of valuable nutrients. Some of the many benefits include:

• Cardiovascular benefits include relaxation for the heart. Raw dark chocolate provides multiple benefits to the cardiovascular system.
• The highest source of magnesium available in a food.
• The oxidants found in dark chocolate have been clinically proven to dissolve the buildup plaque found in the arteries of the heart.
• Naturally reverses heart disease.
• Naturally lowers blood pressure.
• Generates total body health.
• Regulates blood sugar through the natural ingredient chromium.
• Increases serotonin levels and produces a healthy good mood.
• Provides Omega 6 fatty acids, which play an important role in brain function, bone health, skin and hair growth and a healthy reproductive system.
• Excellent source of vitamin C, which provides a strengthened immune system, detoxification, balances stress levels and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses.
• Weight loss.
• Fights free radicals.
• Reduce cholesterol levels.

The Nutrients and Vitamins Found in Dark Chocolate

• Magnesium
• Copper
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6
• Zinc
• Sulfur
• Vitamin C
• Iron
• Vitamin E
• Calcium
• Omega six
• Antioxidants
• Soluble fiber
• Phosphorus
• And more

The Best Way to Enjoy Raw Cacao

Eating raw chocolate can be done without feeling any guilt or remorse. This chocolate is not a junk food, but rather a health food. It does not include white sugar, and it is unprocessed. In its natural, unadulterated state, it is extremely rich in valuable nutrients. The unique flavor is exquisite and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

• Crunch the bean between your fingers in order to loosen and remove the peel.
• This delicious bean can be sweetened with a natural sweetener, such as vanilla powder.
• Each bean is protected by a thin shell. Simply remove the shell and dip it in agave nectar for a tasty and delicious treat.
• Eat them whole or grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder. The freshly ground beans can be sprinkled over yogurt, added to smoothies, teas, desserts or to any delicate dish that calls for the delicious flavor of raw chocolate.
• When eating them alone, chew them thoroughly to enjoy the maximized flavor.
• Freeze the beans with agave or honey and eat cold.
• Grind the beans into a powder and mix with coconut oil for a flavorful chocolate sauce. This sauce can be used in cookie recipes, brownies and other baked goods.

In order to reap the multiple benefits of this super food, you should enjoy one to ten tablespoons of cocoa powder daily. Raw chocolate cacao beans provide nutrition in its purest form. This healthy snack is a gluten-free, natural way to improve your health, increase your antioxidant levels and boost your immune system. Enjoy the exquisite flavoring of crushed cacao beans over yogurt, in a variety of baked recipes, in fresh agave nectar or simply enjoy crunching on the delightfully, delicious bean straight from the shell.

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