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I love all things chocolate. During the years that I spent on the diet roller-coaster, chocolate was the one thing that always sucker-punched me right back into my old habits. What I wish I had known then was it wasn’t actually the chocolate that got the best of me but the quality of the chocolate I was eating.
Most chocolate that’s widely available commercially is so loaded with added sugar, fat, trans fats, and preservatives that it’s a distant relative of its original ingredient—cacao—and devoid of any healthful properties. Amazingly, Americans consume in the ballpark of 12 pounds of chocolate per person per year! And while eating dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa or cacao content in moderation is a more healthful option, to derive the ultimate superfood benefits, you’ll want to stick with eating cacao. (not to be confused with cocoa)
Long enjoyed for its invigorating properties in South America, and grown in tropical areas, cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. Referred to as “food of the gods,” raw cacao benefits a wide range of cardiovascular issues. The dark chocolate antioxidants and abundant amounts of magnesium and other phytochemicals can balance blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, scrub away arterial plaque, and promote general health by reversing heart disease. (Raw) chocolate bars are known as a great remedy for heavy bleeding and cramping during menstruation. Cacao is also confirmed as an aphrodisiac for both genders.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, here’s a fun fact that could point to chocolate’s superfood powers regarding longevity: The world’s oldest woman, Jeanne Louise Calment of Arles, France, reportedly ate 2.5 pounds of bitter dark chocolate per week!
While it may be tempting to run out and gorge on this superfood treat, adding a few tablespoons of raw cacao powder or cacao nibs to your morning smoothie may be all that you can tolerate. Here’s why: Raw cacao, for all its wonderful properties, contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid with caffeine-like properties. If you are sensitive to theobromide, you may feel jittery, high or on-edge, so best to begin by indulging in moderation!
Superfood Chocolate Mousse (Recipe!)
2 ripe avocados
¼ cup raw cacao powder
maple syrup or pure stevia, to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Put all ingredients into a high-speed blender and whir until you achieve a smooth consistency. Chock full of goodness, this mousse lets you have your chocolate and eat it too!