Guest Author - Aimee Wood
Valentine's Day is coming up! Chocolate is one of the top selling items during this holiday. Did you know you can have your chocolate and be healthy, too? Cacao is raw chocolate with enormous benefits. Raw chocolate or cacao can be found in almost all health food stores. Add some of this healthful treat to your diet today.
Cacao is full of benefits for the cardiovascular system. This little powerhouse contains antioxidants, flavonoids, and minerals that keep the heart in tip top shape. In fact, cacao has four times the amount of antioxidants than regular dark chocolate has. Studies have shown that cacao maintains a healthy blood flow, lowers LDL cholesterol, and reduces plaque. Get your sweetheart some of this for Valentine's Day!
In addition to all of the heart benefits, cacao has been shown to improve memory and fights fatigue, due to the impressive levels of magnesium it contains. Cacao contains anandamide, which is a mood improver. Interestingly, it also contains phenethylamine, which is an aphrodisiac. Yet, another reason to get some raw chocolate for Valentine's Day.
Cacao can be added to your diet in many ways. You can simply sprinkle it over fruit slices. Also, you can take a frozen banana and cacao powder and mix. This makes a tasty ice cream. For a tasty snack or breakfast, take a piece of toast with nut butter, add sliced bananas then sprinkle cacao over that. Popular ways to include cacao in the diet are to make delicious cacao balls or to put it in your daily smoothie. Here are some great recipes:
1 cup of soaked almonds
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/4 cup of shredded coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/8 cup of chia seeds
Mix all of the ingredients together in a Vitamix blender. Roll into balls and keep in the refrigerator.
Blueberry/Strawberry Cacao Smoothie
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 cup of ice
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Blend all of these ingredients in a Vitamix blender. Enjoy this tasty and healthy breakfast!
Cacao powder is a superfood that should be included in your diet. Not only is it delicious, but it's versatile and so healthy for everyone.