All hail the cacao bean, giver of chocolatey goodness and heart health benefits!
Did you know that cacao, cocoa and chocolate all come from the cacao bean? Cacao (as in nibs and cacao powder) is raw and unprocessed, while chocolate and cocoa powder are made with fermented and heat processed cacao powder. No matter which you choose, both cocoa and cacao have some surprising health benefits that are sure to win your heart. Here are our top 5, just in time for Valentine’s Day:
Cocoa antioxidants have been found to:
- Support heart health by increasing “good” HDL cholesterol
- Show anti-aging benefits like improved cognitive function and improved insulin sensitivity
- Lower blood pressure by supporting blood vessel elasticity, an important feature of cardiovascular health
- Contain high levels of antioxidants to help fight inflammation
- Reduce the risk of heart failure in healthy men, so think about treating your sweetie with a little unsweetened chocolate treat!
To gain the maximum health benefits of chocolate without the pitfalls of added sugar, we recommend using raw unsweetened cacao powder. You can…
- Make a healthy sugar-free hot chocolate with a cup of unsweetened almond milk, two teaspoons raw unsweetened cacao powder, a capful of vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, and liquid stevia to taste. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat to a boil, let cool and enjoy!
- Add it to shakes and smoothies — like this Chocolate Mint Daily Benefit Detox Smoothie recipe
- Feeling extra creative? Surprise your valentine with these homemade chocolate coconut oil “truffles”
- Grab a healthy bar made with raw cacao, like Dr. Morrison’s Coconut Cacao Bars
- Indulge in a guilt-free dark-chocolate treat, like Addictive Wellness’s Raw Vegan Chocolates
Want more tips and tricks to make your daily meals more nutritious and enjoyable?
Our nutritionists can show you how to get the most benefit and enjoyment of out your meals while working toward your health goals. Contact us at 212-989-9828 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about opportunities for one-on-one nutrition support.