It’s tough to resist the urge to treat yourself to something chocolate-y with Halloween just around the corner! Unfortunately, conventional chocolate is full of tricks: added sugars, artificial flavours and colourings, and ingredients that commonly cause inflammation and digestive discomfort, like dairy and soy. Raw organic cacao products free of refined sugars are a great alternative with loads of health benefits! Below we explore 4 benefits of this superfood.
- Enhances mood
Raw organic cacao naturally contains mood enhancers anandamide and phenethylamine. The former is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that has been called the “bliss molecule”. It not only elevates feelings of happiness, it has also shown anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. While anandamide is present in all chocolate, raw organic cacao is ideal because it is less processed than the average chocolate bar, contains less sugar and is a more concentrated source of beneficial compounds.
Phenethylamine (PEA) triggers the release of endorphins and stimulates dopamine. Endorphins are natural stress and pain fighters and work to help us feel more alert, focused, and calm. PEA is heat sensitive, so its health properties are not lost in raw cacao products! Dopamine is important because it plays a key role in motivation. Dopamine deficiency can lead to apathy, procrastination, lethargy, and more.
If you’re searching for a different kind of cacao-powdered, mood-enhancing chocolate experience, we recommend Four Sigmatic’s Hot Cocoa with Reishi. Add one sachet of this superfood powder to hot water and enjoy it espresso style. It is the ultimate anti-stress antidote thanks to the twin powers of cacao and reishi mushrooms! This quick and convenient mushroom-infused beverage is ideal for when a dark chocolate craving hits. With hints of cardamom and cinnamon, the full chocolatey flavour this product offers is the ultimate way to melt away stress.
- Great source of magnesium
Raw cacao offers one of the highest concentrations of magnesium of any natural food source. Why is this important to know? Because magnesium serves hundreds of functions within the human body and is the second most abundant element inside human cells. Women ages 19 to 30 should aim for 310mg daily, and pregnant women within that age bracket should aim for 350mg (click here to review the full chart of daily recommended amounts). What better way to contribute to your daily intake of this vital mineral than through a chocolatey treat? Below are a few of the many important ways magnesium supports good health:
- Supports healthy immune system*
- Maintains strong bones*
- Regulates blood glucose*
For anyone who is curious or interested about the positive effects of raw cacao – or those who can testify to its delicious feel-good powers – Rawmio is the brand for you. This line scrumptious vegan chocolate products is entirely raw, certified organic, fair trade, and sprouted. Rawmio is so committed to their handcrafted line of vegan chocolate and chocolate covered treats that they produce all of their products in a raw, vegan and certified organic facility. If that’s not enough to convince you of the company’s commitment to quality, nutrition, and taste, consider that they even use sprouted almonds and hazelnuts in their Chocolate Covered Almonds and Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts! If these products don’t pique your interests, check out their Chocolate Covered Cherries, Chocolate Covered Raisins, Hazelnut Mint Spread, or chocolate bars (available in dark chocolate, mint, and orange flavours).
- Can aid in weight loss
Because of its mood boosting effects, raw cacao can help curb overeating caused by anxiety and depression. Most significantly, raw cacao provides chemical compounds that boost serotonin levels. Raised serotonin levels send signals to the brain that help reduce appetite and stimulate feelings of satiety.
Making the switch from conventional chocolate to raw organic, sugar-free cacao products also helps reduce insulin resistance in those with impaired glucose tolerance, thanks to its antioxidant properties. Insulin resistance is a hormonal issue that can affect anyone, for a number of reasons; those afflicted may experience difficulty losing weight. Raw organic cacao products with no added sugar will not cause a spike in glucose levels like conventional chocolate does; in fact, it can actually stabilize blood sugar. Put simply, it is safer, healthier choice for insulin resistant chocolate lovers looking to indulge.
Another strategy for supporting steady blood sugar levels is adequate protein intake. Two 2016 studies found that “Adding protein-rich or probiotic-laden foods to your diet may help control your blood sugar levels” (source). Why not amp up the blood sugar support by choosing an organic, plant-based protein powder blend that uses raw cacao? Sunwarrior’s Chocolate Rice Protein Powder fits the bill!
- Protects heart health
Clinical studies have shown that the frequency of heart and stroke in humans declined with increased consumption of cacao foods. This is due to many factors, including cacao’s antioxidant content which supports healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and reducing plaque build-up on artery walls.
Because of the extreme processing of much conventional chocolate, the cacao’s antioxidant powers become diminished, if not totally eliminated. This is one of many reasons to reach for raw chocolate over other varieties! We recently added Sacred Chocolate Heart Bars to our store, and because of their incredible taste and nutritional profile, they are one of our favourite antioxidant boosters. These chocolates are raw, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, soy-free, fair trade certified, and certified organic and kosher! Choose from nine delectable flavours, including the most incredible dairy-free vegan “milk” chocolate, a ground breaking white chocolate, and more exotic flavours.
Raw organic cacao is scary good for you! It contains more than 300 compounds beneficial to health and can improve physical and mental wellness. Why not treat yourself this Halloween? Shop our No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween Chocolate Sale today through October 31st – new products will be added to the page throughout the week-long sale!