Chocolate is the forbidden fruit, or is it? Recently, science has shown us that chocolate isn’t such a guilty pleasure after all.
Touted as a superfood, chocolate in its raw form (cocoa beans) actually has a higher antioxidant content than most fruits. They are high in flavonoids and can help lower cholesterol. They also contain up to four times the antioxidants of a cup of green tea.
The therapeutic use of chocolate is nothing new. Medical texts dating all the way back to the 16th century mentioned dozens of medicinal uses for cocoa. Its most common uses in ancient times were to stimulate appetite to encourage weight gain, improve circulation and digestion, and stimulate the nervous system.
Today its therapeutic applications are increasing. Current research has shown that cocoa fights depression by stimulating the natural production of antidepressants in our bodies. It also contains its own stimulants, theophylline, and caffeine. Rich in magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, calcium, potassium, and manganese, cocoa beans are a nutrient-packed food. They are also a vitamin powerhouse packed with A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, and pantothenic acid.
While cocoa beans are rich in these wonderful nutrients and vitamins, it is important to remember that once the beans are processed, these powerful constituents are depleted or completely destroyed. That’s why raw cocoa (found in health food stores in the form of beans, powder, butter, or nib) is the most beneficial chocolate to consume. Dark chocolate bars can be a good source, but make sure they contain at least 75% cocoa. There are numerous recipes that contain cocoa in its raw form. Most of the time, raw foodists use it in their diets to make Cacao dessert recipes and as a nutrient.
A simple, delicious dark chocolate sauce can be made by mixing ¾ cup of raw cocoa powder with ¾ cup of maple syrup or agave syrup and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Blend in a powerful blender until smooth consistency. This recipe is always gobbled up at our home. We use it to dip fresh fruit or a sauce to pour over ice cream or other treats. Delicious, nutritious, and satisfying the sweet tooth.
A word of caution when using cocoa beans: If you’re prone to migraines or allergic reactions, their active polyphenols could be a trigger.
In smoothies, sauces, trail mix, or chocolate bars, cocoa can be delicious. in addition to a healthy diet.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, I completely changed my lifestyle, lost nearly 50 pounds, and began a regimen of additional treatments to support my immune system and return my body to a healthy body. It’s been a year and I feel great.