Chocolate is delicious, fact! It’s the ultimate comfort food, a go-to in time of stress and strife, a natural mood-enhancer, and a reliable source of consolation when life gets you down. Whilst there’s many claims about how chocolate benefits both your health and your mood, it’s worth noting that not all chocolate is created the same.
Let’s begin with saying that cacao in itself is not unhealthy, in fact it is incredibly healthy (but we will go into that later). No, it is the chocolate it becomes that is the troublemaker: over-processed and sugar laden, all hint of health removed. But how does chocolate start life?
Where does chocolate come from?
Of course all chocolate starts life in the same way: the cacao tree produces cacao pods containing cacao beans. Cacao butter (the edible fat) is extracted from the beans and the inner cacao nibs are then ground down to make cacao solids (the dark powder).
The majority of chocolate’s goodness is found in the cacao solids which contain over 300 chemical compounds – most notably antioxidant rich polyphenols.
White chocolate contains only cocoa butter, whereas milk and dark chocolate contain both cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Dark chocolate has more solids, so from the start dark chocolate is always going to be better for you than the other two types. But regular dark chocolate has nothing on raw chocolate.
What is raw cacao?
Cacao is not an alternative spelling for cocoa. Cocoa is what processed cacao becomes. Raw cacao is just what it sounds like, it is the unprocessed bean, solids or powder that is packed full of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids that are incredibly good for you. We get raw cacao by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans, thereby preserving the beans nutritional benefits. Cocoa on the other hand is heavily roasted (thus removing most nutritional benefits), over-processed and combined with so much sugar, any health benefit that might remain is lost too.
Why is raw cacao synonymous with healthy chocolate?
Raw cacao is packed with:
- Magnesium (essential for energy production and maintaining healthy blood pressure)
- Sulfur (builds strong hair and nails)
- Iron (builds red blood cells and transports oxygen around the body)
- Flavonoids (known antioxidants linked to maintaining a healthy heart and improving vascular function)
- PEA (phenylethylamine, a compound thought to lift moods by raising the levels of serotonin and stimulate the secretion of endorphins)
Raw chocolate is created from raw cacao and so by its very nature, we believe it’s a healthier chocolate.
What is raw chocolate?
Raw chocolate is a combination of cacao butter and cacao powder (with the cacao solids varying depending on the type of chocolate being made). Raw chocolate is normally sweetened with a natural sweetener like coconut sugar, and can be blended with nuts to keep it dairy free. It is still not heat-treated so you get all the health benefits of eating the raw cacao, but sweetened naturally to balance the bitterness of the cacao making it palatable.
Raw chocolate is not just a healthier choice, it’s a delicious mood-boosting, natural treat that’s made with love.