The benefits of raw cacao and how to still enjoy chocolate this Easter17 April 2019
The benefits of raw cacao are becoming more well known, which is great as we all love a little bit of chocolate once in a while, don’t we? Oh okay, we all love a lot of chocolate! Even the healthiest of healthies amongst us indulges occasionally, and there’s something so tempting about that lovely sweet sensation.
Slight problem is that when you’re an eczema warrior there’s a good chance that you’re watching your dairy and gluten intake so you might think chocolate is off the menu. The great news is that it certainly isn’t. You might just need to make a few tweaks to your usual chocolate fix but believe me it’s worth it.
These days, if I fancy a chocolate I know that the regular stuff can play havoc with my skin. You’ve heard of ‘a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips’ well for me it’s more like ‘a moment on the lips and a good chance I’ll wake up scratching’. So these days I tend to stick to raw chocolate.
Hang on, raw means uncooked right? How does that work with chocolate?! Well it doesn’t mean raw like raw meat! Essentially, it just means eating chocolate in the purest form possible, so it’s not loaded with dairy. It’s made from raw cacao (not cocoa, that’s something different entirely!) which are the unprocessed beans used to make traditional chocolate, just without any added extras. So without all that other stuff it’s actually going to do you some good, as it’s packed with nutrients.
Chocolate that’s good for you? I’ll take some of that, thank you very much! Ha ha, it really is a brilliant way to curb those chocolate cravings but without hitting your body with a huge sugar surge. It’s quite an intense flavour, too, so you don’t really need very much of it.
So, what are the benefits of raw cacao?
It’s loaded with magnesium. And we need magnesium for energy, so it’s a great boost if you’re feeling tired or flagging a bit.
It can improve your digestion. As it also contains dietary fibre, raw cacao can help keep your digestive health in tip-top condition and avoid any pesky constipation.
Your brain will say thank you. After you’ve eaten raw cacao, lots of lovely flavanols get absorbed into your bloodstream and make their way to your brain. They help to form new neurons and protect them, boosting your brain’s function. So there you go, chocolate is brain food!
It’s super heart-healthy! Raw cacao is so clever... it can reduced your bad cholesterol levels and raise your good cholesterol levels, thanks to all the antioxidants it contains. And this means reducing your risk of heart disease, which can only be a good thing.
Hello healthy fats. We all know by know we need some fat in our diets, as long as it’s the right kind (think less chips and doughnuts, more avocado and oily fish!) The very awesome cacao bean is a great source of healthy fats, too, so you can get your fix and still be guilt free.
Cough cough. This is an interesting one there is some research that suggests one of the components in cacao (theobromine for you scientists] can help to treat a persistent cough. So you could try a cup or two of hot chocolate made from cacao next time you have a cough and see if it works!
It’s a mood booster! Chocolate is often quite a ‘feel-good’ food, which is why so many people are reluctant to give it up. Cacao can boost your wellbeing, and stem any mood swings, so if you’re feeling a bit low or a bit all over the place then it’s a great natural mood balancer.
So there you go, the benefits of raw chocolate really are big!
Where to find it:
I’d also recommend RAWR Organic Fairtrade dark raw chocolate (they do a whole range of different flavours too, if you fancy a mint or orange one once in a while)
If you’re looking for Easter Eggs, the Raw Chocolate Pie Company also has a great one of these, filled with organic cranberries and goji berries, delicious! Or you could make your own, the Raw Chocolate Company has some great recipes.
Having eczema does mean being careful about things like dairy and gluten but you should never see this as depriving yourself of things more that you are given more of a chance to experiment with good, healthy foods rather than just grabbing a bar or box of chocolate off the supermarket shelf. Raw chocolate not only has a ton of health benefits, it tastes wonderful and just a small amount generally sorts out your chocolate craving, so you don’t end up stuffing your face and feeling sick!
Let me know if you try any, what are your favourite brands? You’ll find me @camilleknowles.
Lots of love, Camille xx