For Chocolate Lovers: benefits of raw cocoa
Who doesn’t just love chocolate? I can often melt simply by the thought of chocolate.Many other women would certainly not hesitate to accept any offer of the substance, no matter what the kind.
Chocolate has just one ingredient: cocoa, derived from the cocoa bean. As a child, however, white chocolate always used to be my favourite. Although all chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the white kind consists mostly of white sugar, dairy and chemicals. Many conventionally sold chocolates contain hardly any of the raw cocoa because it is often roasted and heated under pressure. This process removes most of the antioxidant value and mineral content of the original cocoa.
It may not come as a surprise that raw cocoa can indeed have some positive benefits on your health. Raw cocoa contains several important minerals needed by our bodies such as magnesium, iron, zinc, chromium, manganese, sodium, and copper. Cocoa can provide relief to women during their menstrual period. At this time of the month women lose the magnesium that is – conveniently- provided by cocoa. No wonder women can have such strong cravings for chocolate. Magnesium may also aid in muscle relaxation while also inducing a calming effect.
Another benefit of raw cocoa is that it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that is normally only produced by our brains when we are in love. Phenylethylamine makes us feel connected to others; it makes us alert and promotes a positive outlook on life. Raw cocoa is also high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that functions as a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. For this process to occur, tryptophan has to react with vitamin B3 and B6 in the presence of magnesium to produce serotonin. Not only is serotonin essential for feelings of happiness, it influences our sleep too.
Finally, chocolate has further antioxidant value. As is ceaselessly promoted in the media, raw cocoa contains antioxidants properties that protect our cells against free radicals. Free radicals are created in our bodies as a by-product of our regular metabolism. Moreover when we are exposed to excess radiation from either machines or the sun, free radical damage can occur. Antioxidants can fight off free radicals, keeping them at bay. Yet, it is important to be aware that commercially sold chocolates often contain very little in the way of antioxidants. Such chocolates is frequently heated and roasted, resulting in the loss of many of these healthy properties.
Adding a bit of raw cocoa powder to your diet can be an excellent extra value for both your body and your mind. For a quick, easy and delicious recipe with raw cocoa, see the cocoa smoothie.
1 cup of milk to your likings (almond/hemp/rice/soy/cow’s milk)
1 tablespoon raw cocoa powder