Raw chocolate is more than just a great-tasting treat. It is also very healthy. Well, it can be healthy. That’s only when the cacao is actually raw, and it’s that kind of cacao that qualifies as a superfood.
Cacao is unprocessed and raw by definition and is related to cocoa, which most people know better, since it is usually very processed and is roasted at a high heat to create the substance we use in chocolate bars and hot chocolate. When cacao is roasted, it alters the structure of the beans on a molecular level. This kills the enzymes in the beans and creates what we normally find in the chocolate in supermarkets.
It’s really not good for you, but if you take the unfermented beans and dry and press them in a room temperature environment, then the quality of the powder does not change. It is still raw, and the essential nutrients and antioxidants are still there. It can be tough to pull this off, and the only way to make cacao that is actually raw is to cold press the unroasted beans with specialized tools. This takes out the cocoa butter but holds in the remaining nutrients.
The temperature during this process has to be kept below the raw threshold to ensure proper quality and nutrient retention. This is done with cold press technology that’s expensive but worth it to create delicious, nutritious cacao.
This kind of raw cacao is only made in few places around the world. Most chocolate production plants are perfectly happy to create cacao that is processed and roasted to the point where very little nutritious value remains.
Raw cacao contains some incredible nutrients which are worth discussing.
Antioxidants are at the top of the list, and these help prevent disease and slow down free radicals. Raw cacao contains about twice as much antioxidants as red wine and as much as three times what you would find in green tea.
There are plenty of minerals in raw cacao, and these are an important part of healthy living. You’ll also find magnesium in raw cacao, which is necessary for great heart health.
Theobromine allows blood to pump more easily in the body, and it may be able to boost your circulation and fight off depression.
Foods that have lots of antioxidants have been shown to be good for you, but there are lots of cacao products that are being sold as raw but without the same benefits as truly raw cacao. They are often heated to such a degree during the manufacturing process that the antioxidants are killed off. Only with special processing machines are the nutrients and antioxidant able to be retained.
Try raw cacao for yourself and see the difference in your health and the benefits it can provide.