Can You Eat Chocolate & Be Healthy?
Thank goodness the answer to this question is YES!! That said, what you should be eating is NOT the run of the mill milk chocolate bar out of your nearest convenience store…. You should be eating raw cocoa. Raw cocoa comes in the form of cocoa powder or cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are simply bits of crushed cocoa beans.
What’s So Special About Raw Cocoa?
- First, it’s special because of it’s processing or should I say lack thereof.
- Second, it’s special because of it’s nutritional value.
How Raw Cocoa is Made & Why That’s Important
The cocoa beans are cold pressed into a paste at a maximum temperature of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. This process separates the cocoa butter from the bean. The remaining bean is then ground to produce raw cocoa powder. The use of low the temperature allows the bean to maintain its nutritional integrity.
Raw Cocoa’s Amazing Nutritional Value
Let’s take a look at some facts:
- Two tablespoons of raw cocoa has 6 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. That’s more than a third of the recommended daily allowance for fiber!
- That same serving touts 22% of your RDA for iron and 42% of your RDA for magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is rampant in the U.S.
- Raw Cocoa has great antioxidant properties! It rates very high on the ORAC Scale. ORAC stands for: ‘Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity’. The ORAC scale measure the rate that nutrients destroy free radicals in the body. You can learn more bout the ORAC Scale on my blog post: Learn About the ORAC Factor
- The ORAC value for 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) raw cocoa powder is: 95,500.
- The ORAC value for 100 grams of traditional cocoa powder (roasted at high temperatures) is 26,000.
- The same amount of a run-of-the-mill dark chocolate bar is 13,120 and milk chocolate is even lower at 6,740. Since the ORAC scale measures the rate at which nutrients eat up free radicals, a high score means a great deal.
- Raw cocoa has about twice the antioxidants of red wine and three times that of green tea!
Here are a couple fun chocolate facts that will tell you that it’s OK to treat yourself to some chocolate.
In an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in March 2005, titled: ‘Short-Term Administration of Dark Chocolate is Followed by a Significant Increase in Insulin Sensitivity and a Decrease in Blood Pressure in Healthy Persons’. Results of the studies showed that insulin sensitivity was improved almost 12% in 15 test subjects given dark chocolate and systolic blood pressure dropped almost 6% among the same group.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine wrote an article about a study on: ‘Suppressive Effects of Cacao Liquor Polyphenols (CLP) on LDL Oxidation and the Development of Atherosclerosis’.
The results shown were:
‘The antioxidative effect of CLP was superior to those of the well-known antioxidative substances, vitamin C, vitamin E and probucol. Therefore, CLP suppressed the generation of atherosclerosis, and its antioxidative effect appeared to have an important role in its anti-atherosclerotic activity.’
According to Experimental Biological Medicine, January, 2004: The flavanol, procyanidin, found in cacao has also shown to inhibit cataract formation in diabetic lab rats.
Enjoy Some Raw Cocoa!
Try it for breakfast! My Berry Antioxidant Protein Smoothie is chock-full of chocolaty goodness! Not only is it yummy but it offers 25 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber – a healthy way to start your day!
Or you could treat yourself to a sweet treat with Healthy Chocolate Mousse.
Or put a teaspoon in your coffee in the morning – YUM!
Where can you buy raw cocoa? I buy mine on Amazon. I love and trust Divine Organics as a brand and with life as busy as it gets, I love when groceries come to the front door 🙂
Final Thoughts on Raw Cocoa
- YES! We can eat chocolate and be healthy as long as we make a wise choice. Raw cocoa is a great choice!
- Raw cocoa rates very high on the ORAC scale making it super-antioxidant.
- Raw cocoa is high in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is high in the U.S., another great reason to indulge.
- Balance is IMPORTANT! Enjoy a little chocolate 🙂