Posts Tagged ‘Cacao Powder’
The seed of the cacao tree, the cacao bean, has had a lot of attention recently due to its suggested health benefits. It has been confirmed by the ORAC test (ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity), that one single spoonful of raw cacao powder has over 25000 antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect us from harmful free radicals. A free radical is an unpaired electron. These electrons produce energy for us. As well as this, they defend us against infection too, so they are necessary for life. The only problem is these single electrons need to be in a pair. The electrons match up by stealing others and therefore more single electrons are formed. It’s when these new pairs are formed we get problems, as damage is caused to the surrounding cells. Antioxidants are the body’s defence system. They cancel out free radicals that are causing damage to the surrounding cells by giving them another electron.
The free radical defence system needs Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The only problem is that we cannot produce these vital vitamins ourselves, so we have to keep replacing them. Other main antioxidants include, the carotenes, especially beta-carotene and the minerals selenium, magnesium and zinc.
Cacao powder is packed with nutrients, including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Cacao powder is also rich in flavonoids. Flavonoid studies have suggested that they may have health benefits, which include anti-allergic, anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Cacao Powder is a true super food. It is also a sweet tooth alternative and a much healthier alternative choice for chocolate lovers. The health benefits of dark chocolate have been well documented. However, Cacao powder simply outclasses this or any other super food based on its high antioxidant levels.
Cacao beans are grown and cold pressed. The cacao butter oil is removed after pressing and the cacao cake-like residue is ground into a fine powder. The powdering process takes place in a controlled environment, which makes sure that the temperature remains low. By maintaining a low temperature the nutritional potency is kept intact. Processing Cacao in this way increases its health benefits.
When mixed with fruit or anything with a natural sweetness the chocolaty flavour of the cocoa bean is released. However, if you add the Cacao powder to dairy products this does inhibit the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients. So for best results the powder is best uncooked and not added to any dairy.
Cacao powder is a delicious and simple addition to your diet and it can make a great deal of difference to your nutritional intake. Cacao powder is a truly delicious super food that shouldn’t be overlooked.
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