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Chocolate keeps the heart healthy. Heard that somewhere? How we all love to believe it for guilt-free nibbling on chocolates! There are even articles floating around that say those who eat chocolates wouldn’t die of a heart disease! Then there are contradictory researches that advise to eat less of chocolates. We believe, but only until the next craving!
What we probably never cared to find out is what kind of chocolate is being referred to as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’? Was it the one sourced from cocoa, that we find at every other store, or the one sourced from cacao? Hello?! Weren’t the two just cousins with similar sounding names? Or wasn’t the difference more of a Chinese-whisper effect that happens from one article to another?!
The truth is that everything ‘Chocolate’ starts at only one source – the raw Cacao bean. This mighty bean is a superfood when eaten raw. It contains natural sugar and trans (good) fat, but the bitterness supercedes the natural sweet. When fermented, the cacao beans acquire a ‘chocolatey’ taste. There can be two ways of processing it to get rid of the bitterness. Cold-pressing extracts the fat but retains all the living enzymes that bring about many health wonders that research refers to. On the other hand, heat processing or roasting at high temperature changes the molecular structure of the bean and makes it effectively ‘limp’ in terms of health. This is what we know as Cocoa, which is not only devoid of the sugar but of all the nutrients as well. The chocolate we love is usually made from this cocoa, adding heaps of sugar to make it tasty, which only adds to its ‘unhealthy’ quotient.
On the other hand, the health wonders that cacao can bring you are many. It
(In fact cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries.)
Thanks to the increased desire to go healthy and organic, cacao is slowly finding its way into homes and diet charts.
A health tip before you introduce cacao into your own kitchen!
Research shows that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from raw cacao. So if you’re making a cacao shake, prefer to use a non-dairy milk like almond or coconut just so you reap all of the antioxidant benefits.
And one for your loved ones! With the festive season round the corner, you’d probably be gifting everything ‘chocolate’. Prefer the ones made out of cacao and spread real happiness!
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