The Mexican Mayan kings drank up to 30 pure chocolate drinks a day to maintain their vigour and valued the bean so highly that it was used as money. Raw Cacao products are a source of beta-carotene, amino acids (protein), Omega-3 EFA's, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing, stress relieving magnesium – now you know why women crave chocolate every month!
Add to smoothies or milkshakes, make hot chocolate, sprinkle on coffee or icecream, add to cookie or muffin batter, or substitute for regular cocoa powder in dessert recipes.
Most cocoa powder is processed via the "Dutch method" meaning heat extracted (up to 150°C!), sometimes with solvents, thus destroying most of the nutrients and antioxidants and potentially contaminating the end product. Cacao Power products have an antioxidant (ORAC) score of 95,500. To put that into perspective, that's 14 times more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, 21 times more than green tea, and 7 times more than even dark chocolate !
1. Will it keep me awake at night? Depends – some people say it helps them sleep, some say it makes them more alert – we're all so unique!
2. How much caffeine does cacao have? All natural products vary, but it is generally considered to have about 1% caffeine (as compared to tea at 4% and coffee which can be more than 10% !!)
3. So why do I feel so good eating cacao? Cacao has other naturally occurring phytochemicals like theobromine (considered an aphrodisiac), phenylethylamine (PEA – released when we fall in love), and anandamide (the ‘bliss' chemical).