If you are fond of chocolate like I am, you will want to hear this…that cacao is good for your health. Perhaps not in the form of the chocolate bar that you and me are used to…. But, it is useful to know the raw organic cacao (in powder form) is one of the highest plant based sources of magnesium!
Why do we need magnesium?
Our diet may not have sufficient magnesium which is essential for:
· the release of endorphins
· the production of energy
· keeping a healthy brain and nervous system
· keeping healthy bones and muscles
The recommended amount varies depending on age and gender (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/)
Chronic low levels of magnesium may increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, and osteoporosis.
Unprocessed cacao is high in flavonoids, that have antioxidants effects and that’s the reason why it is linked with heart health benefits. In addition, cacao is rich in iron, essential for making haemoglobin, and helps distributing oxygen around the body.
You might be confused – why not a chocolate bar, you may ask? Alas, it is not the same – as the cacao beans are roasted, they lose those very same nutrients that we need. So chocolate bars may taste good and better (pure cacao powder tends to be bitter, hence mix it with something), but they are not so healthy!
I have been taking cacao powder for a couple of months, mixed in yoghurt with chopped nuts and sometimes mixed with water/milk or - especially now – a hot cup is an excellent excuse in cold wintery days to warm up.
So, give yourself permission to indulge and sprinkle cacao powder on food or make a drink, whenever you can. What better excuse do we need?! 😀
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A bit of history?
Cacao, known as the food of the Gods, has been around for 4000 years. It originated from South America where the Maya used it as a food source. Later on, the nobles Aztec treated it as a delicacy and at one point cacao was considered more valuable than gold. The Spanish traders introduced it to Europe and the use of cacao spread to France and Italy. Plantations were established in Africa having the perfect climate for growing cacao beans and in the 18th century, the Dutch invented a process to make chocolate powder, to be used in confectionery, baking and cooking.