There’s mounting research which suggests that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is so abundant in health benefits that it can be listed as superfood. Unfortunately, these findings don’t refer to regular store-bought chocolate, but to cacao.
But, there’s no need to get worried as to where to obtain this super healthy chocolate as you can make it yourself using only 3 health-boosting ingredients – cacao, coconut oil and honey.
If you are set to transition to healthier eating, you must be prepared that it’s a long process. It’s virtually impossible to start eating clean overnight. The best thing to do is introduce healthier ingredients gradually. So is the case with switching from cocoa to cacao.
What Is The Difference Between Cocoa And Cacao?
- First, they differ in the production process. While cacao is made by cold-pressing raw cacao beans, cocoa is in fact processed cacao roasted at high temperatures. Plus, cacao retains all the antioxidants in the process of making, whereas cocoa loses them in the process of roasting at high temperatures.
If we examine a popular brand, Hershey’s chocolates, for instance, they use cocoa butter and other vegetable oils during their manufacturing process, which is a much cheaper way of producing chocolate. The thing is that this chocolate is everything but real chocolate. Other chocolate manufacturers are no different. Plus, most of them also add sugar or high fructose corn syrup and use soy lecithin as an emulsifier.
- The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Low-processed chocolate with at least 65% cacao is highly recommended because dark chocolate is more packed than antioxidants than milk chocolate. Moreover, milk chocolate contains more added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Many people aren’t familiar with the fact that milk hinders the absorption of antioxidants from cacao. That’s why, making your own chocolate using non-dairy ingredients is the best way to maintain all the health benefits of cacao.
- Cacao has a higher content of antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Plus, it’s abundant in minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Cacao can also stimulate the production of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being.
- Cacao is rich in many flavonoids, especially, epicatechin and quercetin, which account for its cancer-fighting properties.
7 Health Benefits of Raw Cacao
- It lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- It improves vision
- It protects your nervous system
- It improves memory loss
- It prevents cancer
- It reduces blood pressure
- It boosts your mood
It’s important to remember that making your own food is the best choice. Cacao powder made of raw cacao beans is the most important ingredient for making real chocolate. It is available at Whole Foods or online. Plus, this recipe uses coconut oil (preferably virgin) and raw honey (you can also use maple syrup instead of honey).
Apart from being exceptionally healthy, this treat is really time-saving because it only takes 5 minutes to mix the 3 ingredient together. And the taste is much better than store-bought versions.
Are You Eating Real Chocolate? DIY: 3 Ingredient Real Chocolate Recipe
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (make sure it is melted)
- 4-6 tablespoons raw honey (depending on how sweet you like your chocolates)
- Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl until they blend well. You can either whisk by hand or using a hand blender.
- Use fun molds to shape the chocolates (egg, heart or a chocolate bar mold).
- Keep in the freezer for about 1 hour.
This recipe is enough for about 30 mini chocolates. You can also use maple syrup instead of honey and swap coconut oil for cacao butter (creamier version) as well. Feel free to try incorporating other flavors like vanilla extract, pinch of salt, berries, and chopped nuts. The combinations are infinite!