All About Chocolate
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate... Personally, I cannot imagine a day without a chocolate treat. Sadly enough, ingredients in traditional chocolate bars are very often far from healthy, while cacao on its own is an ingredient that is simply loaded with health benefits.
But first things first. Cacao or cocoa? For S-Foodies, it is cacao. Don't take me wrong, they are both good for you, but here we stand for unprocessed and natural ingredients, and therefore, it's cacao for us. We use raw cacao in all its forms: cacao powder, cacao paste, cacao butter and cacao nibs. Handmade chocolate from us consists only of cacao products + natural sweeter like maple or agave syrup - no artificial flavors, no emulsifiers or additives.
Health Benefits of Cacao
1. Cacao is known for improving your mood
Have you ever noticed how a bar of chocolate makes you feel better, warmer, and happier? It's because of cacao and its anandamide, a "bliss molecule". It also boosts brain levels of serotonin, the so-called "hormone of happiness", which also helps to balance hormonal mood swings.
2. Cacao for the heart
Cacao is basically packed with antioxidants. Flavanols found in raw cacao may reduce the risk of stroke, improve blood circulation, and lower the risk of other cardiovascular diseases.
Above all that, antioxidants polyphenols can help you lower "bad" cholesterol levels and prevent hardening of the arteries.
3. In Love with Cacao
Cacao is famous for being an aphrodisiac. Phenethylamine found in cacao, or PEA, is linked to releasing of endorphins and pleasurable neurochemicals. These are the same chemicals as those that we release while being in love.
4. Never Get Old
Anthocyanins and catechins antioxidants protect cells from premature oxidation which can make us feel and look younger for a bit longer.
5. Appetite Control
Cacao contains MAO inhibitors which can often be found in weight loss pills and powders; which help shrink appetite. Some even recommend drinking a little cacao before your next meal to prevent overeating. Just don't forget that it's just cacao that has this effect, and not milk or sugar.
6. Clean Glowing Skin
And back to flavonals. These antioxidants do magic for our bodies. They help to improve hydration and oxygen saturation, as well as skin texture. Some studies have even shown that cacao can prevent sunburns.
7. Strong Nails and Shiny Hair
Cacao is a great source of sulfur, which is also a component of keratin and essential for healthy hair, nails, skin, and liver.
8. Fiber and Healthy Fats
Cacao is essential for good digestion, metabolism and a strong immune system.
So, as you can see, cacao itself is loaded with health benefits and is great for us. Just remember to consume it wisely and in balance with other ingredients and your diet.