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Raw cocoa is one of the most amazing superfoods you could ever eat, and no wonder why it appears in so many recommended superfood lists that you find in nutrition books and in the Internet.

Raw cocoa is very rich in antioxidants which can reduce the incidence of several serious illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes. Cocoa adds a great taste to smoothies and also makes them effective in fighting these serious health conditions.

Cocoa beans are native to South America and were used to make bitter drink by the Maya and Aztecs. The beans were also used for medical purposes and as offering in spiritual ceremonies. In the mid 1500s, cocoa beans were introduced to Europe by the Spaniards and they soon became a delicacy.

During the 17th century chocolate houses were established across Europe. Traditionally, cocoa was used in beverages, often mixed with spices such as vanilla and cinnamon, and sometimes with a sweetener such as honey. Later milk was included, and the start of modern chocolate drinks and confectionery began.

Cocoa and cacao – what is the difference?

The explanation to the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa” in not conclusive. Some sources claim that the word cacao comes from the Olmec people from what is now Mexico, and is believed to be the closest pronunciation to the original name of the plant.

It is actually widely believed that the word cocoa has its origins in a spelling mistake which was never corrected, and perhaps found easier to pronounce, and quite successfully overtook the correct form. In other words cocoa is the Anglicized version of the word “cacao”.

Other sources claim that cacao is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, whereas cocoa is what the bean is called after it has been processed. To make things clear I’m using the first meaning, and when I mention later in the recipes row cocoa powder, I mean that the powder has not been mixed with a sweetener and other additives, but only contains ground cocoa beans.

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The Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Cocoa

Research has confirmed the benefits of cocoa beans. Raw cocoa beans are very rich in antioxidants (flavonoids), much more than berries, red wine, green tea and any other fruit, vegetable or nut.

Their powerful antioxidants can reduce the incidence of several serious illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
They also have protective effect on the cardiovascular system and reduce blood pressure.
Their flavonoids can improve insulin sensitivity, so may help prevent type-2 diabetes.
Cocoa beans also contain high levels of neurotransmitters that cause us to feel good, such as serotonin and dopamine.

They are also seem to increase verbal and visual memory, and also act as a mild stimulant.

Cocoa is very rich in fiber (around 33%) and protein (about 20%) and is rich in all the amino acids.

Cocoa beans are the number one source of magnesium (the most missing mineral in our diet), and they are rich in many other minerals like iron, calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and chromium.

Raw cocoa also reduces inflammation, blood clotting, helps blood flow, increases the good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases the bad cholesterol (LDL).

The center of the bean contains about 54% cocoa butter which contains some vitamin E and is rick in vitamin K.

A large percent of cocoa butter is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.

The beans are also rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

How to Incorporate Raw Cocoa Into Your Daily Nutrition

Cocoa itself is bitter, so when it is made into chocolate, sugar must be added. So if you choose dark chocolate, choose 70% cocoa content or more – and consume in moderation.

But even better than that is to try and incorporate the raw cocoa into your diet, and the best way to do it is to add 1-2 teaspoons of raw cocoa powder in smoothies, cereal, granola, or even make a hot drink with raw cocoa powder, a bit of honey and milk.

Here I’m going to give you some smoothie ideas that go especially well with raw cocoa, but of course you can let your imagination run, and create your own version:

Chocolate Orange Smoothie

  • 4 oranges, juiced
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • 1 mango, peeled and pitted

Pour the orange juice and all the other ingredients into the blender and blend. If you want you can add more juice or water to thin the smoothie.

Chocolate Coconut Smoothie

  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 coconut and all it’s water
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 oranges, juiced

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Either strain or drink it as is.

Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • About 1 cup of water

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Chocolate Peach Green Smoothie

  • 1 peach, pitted
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 2 cups of raw baby spinach (or other greens)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • About 1 cup of water

Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Chocolate Mango with Goji Berries Smoothie

  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup dried goji berries
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • 2 cups (or large handfuls) of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or strawberries)
  • About 1 cup of water

Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Cocoa, found in large amounts in dark chocolate, is a true superfood. You can find more information in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.

Source: Natural Health Revolution Program

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Raw cocoa is one of the most amazing superfoods you could ever eat, and no wonder why it appears in so many recommended superfood lists that you find in nutrition books and in the Internet. Raw cocoa is very rich in antioxidants which can reduce the incidence of several serious...