Do you know how chocolate is made? The first step is to let cacao seeds ferment. Then these seeds are dried in the sun or in wood fire ovens. Then the seeds are de-shelled, roasted, and milled to form chocolate liquor. Lastly, fat or cocoa butter is pressed out of the liquor to produce cocoa powder which is the star ingredient in all things chocolate. As you can see cacao seeds go through heavy processing and heat treatment just so we could get cocoa powder.
What is raw cacao?
Raw cacao is made by cold pressing cacao beans. Unlike cocoa powder, it does not go through heat treatment and is not very heavily processed making sure that no nutrients are lost and its high nutritional profile is intact.
You know that chocolate is good for you, but eating raw cacao is even better. Since raw cacao is minimally processed, eating raw cacao has a longer list of nutritional benefits than transitionally processed cacao.
A chemical concoction of happiness.
Raw Cacao is a concoction of compounds and substances that invoke feelings...lots of good feelings. Here are some of those substances:
- Anandamine - also known as the bliss molecule - creates feelings of euphoria. Anandamide occurs in minute quantities in nature, but it should come as no surprise that Anandamine and 3 other compounds that closely resemble it are found in raw cacao. It’s one super-food that would definitely boost your mood
- PEA or phenethylamine - is another compound that triggers “feelings”. This time it triggers the release of endorphins and pleasurable opium-like neurochemicals. We release these substances naturally when we fall in love and during sexual activity. Not only will raw cacao boost your mood, it can also put you “in the mood”.
- Serotonin - the feel-good brain chemical. This list wouldn’t be complete without it because we all know that this substance is what makes us feel happy feels when eating chocolate. Imagine if you get it raw and straight from the source.
- Flavanols - the anti-inflammatory and heart-protective antioxidant group. Raw cacao contains a lot of flavonols that reduce your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Flavonols also improve micro-circulation that in turn helps improve your skin
- Polyphenol - speaking of antioxidants, raw cacao is rich in Polyphenol antioxidants that prevent premature ageing. Antioxidants are also what keeps your cortisol from spiking. They can even improve metabolism and gut microbial activity.
So you see, eating raw cacao is not only pleasurable, but keeps you healthy as well. Now that’s some self care that I can get behind.