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There is a link between cacao powder and several health benefits. The healthy powder contains over 300 identifiable chemical compounds, well-known for their abilities to enhance mood, boost energy levels, and support a sense of well-being.
Why cacao powder is healthy
Chocolate powder in it’s 100% cacao form is healthy because it contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants on the planet, exceeding that of red wine, Green tea, and many other exotic fruits and vegetables. Chocolate (cacao) powder is a source of the mineral magnesium and recent scientific studies have shown that cacao may assist with healthful blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs. It has also been shown to support healthy blood glucose levels.
Chocolate powder is high in antioxidants, surpassing those contained in superfoods such as baobab, green tea, berries, and chia seeds. And is a rich source of fiber, protein, healthy fats and a valuable source of vitamins and minerals.
You will find the following amounts of nutrients contained in two tablespoons of cacao powder:
Amount in grams
What can I use chocolate cacao powder for?
1. Cacao powder is healthy
The flavonoids in cacao might help lower blood pressure, minimize the risk of heart attack, and prevent blood clots. These nutrients also help improve insulin reaction hence reducing your chances of suffering from diabetes.
Cacao powder is rich in potassium, which reduces the risk of heart disease by acting as an anti-inflammatory and reduces stress on the cells. The fiber in cacao also increases healthy digestion and can reduce irritable bowel discomfort and other digestive problems.
2. Add to smoothies
Smoothies always pair naturally with cacao powder since cacao powder turns smoothies into chocolate ice cream, while the sweet flavor in smoothies conceals the slightly bitter taste of cacao.
Blend your preferred fruit (berries, bananas, avocado with almond milk are great), add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cacao powder and revel in its rich exotic flavor.
3. Add to your stews
Cacao powder has long been in use as a savory spice, such as beef and mushroom stews. The earthy spice and slightly bitter taste is natural, great for combining with other herbs to make stews.
4. Use in baked treats
You can use cacao powder interchangeably with unsweetened cocoa powder for your baking treats. However, you will lose much of the antioxidant benefits of cacao due to heating during the baking process, and the taste will be bitter.
Therefore, use cacao in the already baked treats by sprinkling cacao nibs to your cakes and batters for a crunchy texture.
5. To make a face mask
Cacao contains high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are powerful stimulants for blood circulation in the skin, removing unwanted wrinkles, and giving you a perfect glow.
Flavonoids may help eliminate free radical damage, restore cell functioning, and may repair damaged skin cells. In addition, cacao is also a potent anti-inflammatory that can help soothe a burning sensation, and reduce blemishes and redness.
Amazing Cacao Powder Recipes
These tasty everyday cacao powder recipes are perfect for exploiting its nutritional properties:
Cacao Beef Stew Basic Recipe
- 2 lb beef
- Three tablespoons of oil
- Two stalks celery, chopped
- Two onions, chopped
- Three tomatoes, chopped or blended
- One cup beef broth
- One teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- One tablespoon ground cumin
- One tablespoon ground cinnamon
- One tablespoon dried oregano
- Two ounces of cacao powder
- Salt to taste
When the beef is ready for frying, add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Add tomatoes and cover for a minute. Add beef broth, celery, and other spices and stir well. Season with salt, and simmer until the beef is tender, and broth thick. Stir in the cacao powder and serve immediately.
Cacao Antioxidant Face Mask Recipe
- One tablespoon cacao powder
- Two tablespoons clay (red clay works best for all skin types)
- 1/2 tablespoon natural oil (olive, jojoba, coconut)
- One small cup of soaked and cooled green tea
Mix the dry ingredients. Add your oil and then cool green tea. Sprinkle until you reach a creamy, smooth paste-like consistency. Apply, in a thick layer, over your face and leave for 15-20 minutes.
Use an old piece of cloth to remove the face mask by dipping it in hot water, squeezing and holding the fabric close to your face to give it some steam. Then, dip the cloth in warm water and gently wipe the mask off. Rinse with cool water, pat dry, and apply some oil.
Cacao Beverage Recipe
To improve the flavor, combine with a cup of coffee and add a bit of oat, almond milk, or organic coconut milk powder.
For a smoothie with a twist of healthy fats, use Cacao Butter Wafers.
Katz, David L., Kim Doughty, and Ather Ali. “Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease.” Antioxidants & redox signaling 15, no. 10 (2011): 2779-2811. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696435/
Lee, Ki Won, Young Jun Kim, Hyong Joo Lee, and Chang Yong Lee. “Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 51, no. 25 (2003): 7292-7295. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14640573/
Harvard University. n.d. Dark Chocolate. The Nutrition Source [online] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/ [Accessed 15 November 2021].