Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Superfood Cacao

Cocoa (Cacao)

~ Superfood Cacao ~
During a recent trip to Brazil I was able to truly satisfy my cacao "hunger".  In fact the picture above was taken minutes after I arrived, I just could not wait any longer :)  Growing up cacao was a BIG part of my life.  A few too many times I sat enjoying my cacao while my Grandmother yelled: "Save the nut"......!!!  Back than I couldn't understand what was the bid deal about the "nut".  Well, here is the scoop on cacao and all it’s health-bringing benefits!

What You Need To Know: Chocolate – a superfood? Believe it! In its raw, unprocessed state, cacao is filled with nutrients and health benefits. This South American evergreen seed (which is harvested from the tree’s pods) is at the core of many well-loved desserts, but has actually been used for centuries in Mexico and Central and South America specifically for its healing, energizing properties.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT: Cacao is not only a yummy dessert ingredient, but a rich source of many antioxidants and minerals. In its raw state, cacao raises levels of tryptophan and therefore serotonin, a neurotransmitter that releases mood-boosting endorphins, and provides a sense of calm throughout the body. Its antioxidant flavonoids promote optimal cardiovascular health as well as fighting free-radical toxins. Manganese and iron oxygenate the blood, magnesium balances brain chemistry and sulfur builds strong nails, hair and skin. No wonder it makes us feel so good! But the number one reason you should try cacao? It’s delicious!

I love to use cacao in recipes as either powder or nibs. Add rich cacao powder to a smoothie, like this calming mineral-rich banana whip-up, or throw in to a sweet, yet nutritious indulgence like raw cacao pudding. For an alternative to chocolate chips, try cacao nibs in everything! My favorite is the cacao cookies which I have been enjoying everyday since I brought a big batch home with me :)
I hope you enjoyed getting to know ~ Cacao ~ 
Ribas with Love

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