It’s always good news when something you enjoy turns out to be better for you than you could have imagined. Such is the case with chocolate. Research has shown — and continues to show — that this rich, satisfying confection offers a multitude of health benefits, thought to be linked to the polyphenolic flavonoids, or antioxidants, found naturally in the beans from which it’s made.
So what about these beans? You may have heard some buzz recently over “raw cacao.” It’s the hottest new ingredient in dessert recipes. People are scooping it into their smoothies. And everyone seems to be raving about its outstanding nutritional properties, not to mention its pure, chocolaty taste.
Chocolate, as you know it, starts with raw cacao. Raw cacao beans (which are actually the seeds of a berry-like fruit that grows on the tropical Theobroma cacao tree) are dried, roasted and milled into what’s known as chocolate liquor. This substance is then combined with sugar, vanilla and cocoa butter to make dark chocolate””or, add dairy, and you’ve got milk chocolate.
What makes raw cacao good for you?
Raw cacao beans are potent powerhouses of nutrition””known as one of nature’s top superfoods, and for good reason. Besides boasting one of the highest antioxidant concentrations in a plant food, raw cacao is teeming with beneficial nutrients including the essential minerals magnesium, zinc, manganese and copper, plus theobromine (a natural compound similar to caffeine but not a central nervous system stimulant), the amino acid tryptophan and feel-good chemicals phenethylamine and anandamide.
Couldn’t you just eat a dark or milk chocolate bar and reap the benefits? Not exactly. The difference with raw cacao is that, unlike dark or milk varieties, raw cacao “chocolate” is virtually unprocessed. The beans are not heat-treated, but rather slowly dehydrated at low temperatures, leaving all of the natural, beneficial nutrients intact.
How can I enjoy raw cacao?
If you’ve yet to experience the wonders of raw cacao, I invite you to indulge in the newest addition to our line of functional foods — Vitacost ® Super Cacao. These unique, nutrient-rich bars contain 66% dark cacao, from a prized Ecuadorian heirloom species — Arriba Nacional-Fino de Aroma Cacao — which is organically grown, Fair Trade certified and Rain Forest Alliance certified.
But that’s not all. Each Vitacost ® Super Cacao bar is infused with:
- Organic superfoods: including dark chocolate, maca root, lucuma fruit and cupuacu fruit
- CocoaNOURISH ®: antioxidant-rich, organic extracts including cocoa, green tea, coffee fruit, cinnamon, cupuacu fruit, curcumin, reseveratrol and more
- PalmNOURISH ®: with organic coconut oil, AstaREAL ® astaxanthin, FloraGLO ® lutein, Tocomin ® palm tocotriencols and lycopene
- GanedenBC30: a patented probiotic strain that stands up to manufacturing pressures for safe delivery to your digestive system
These super-powered bars also boast super flavor, with added Madagascan vanilla beans, organic fruit extracts and real, organic fruit bits: Choose from:
Vitacost ® Super Cacao Coconut — with organic coconut flakes and organic coconut butter, plus added lifeDHA, a vegetarian omega-3 from sustainable plant sources
Vitacost ® Super Cacao Lemon Ginger — featuring organic lemon zest, organic crystallized ginger and the unique, patented polysaccharide complex WellmuneWGP ®
Vitacost ® Super Cacao Mandarin Orange — infused with organic orange oil and tangerine crisps plus WellTrim ® iG, an authentic, certified African mango seed extract
As a big fan of sweets, especially chocolate, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to discover there’s a way to indulge without having to feel guilty. In fact, I’m confident I’m doing a good thing for my health every time I unwrap a Vitacost ® Super Cacao bar.