Hmmm…….now there’s a question!
The cacao bean has been considered a precious food throughout history - it has been worshiped, consumed during festivals & celebrations, fought over and used as currency. There’s certainly something complex and special about this bean.
Chocolate, like many foods, is packed with nutrients when in it’s natural state. Freshly made raw chocolate is a healthier option than processed chocolate filled with refined sugar & pasteurised dairy but does that mean we can consider it a health food? I guess that really depends who you ask….. so maybe the question to ask ourselves should really be “do we want chocolate in our life?” and if so, do we have a healthy relationship with it?
Chocolate is full of nutrients. The 2 main minerals it contains are Magnesium (good for our bones, our heart, our blood and helps alleviate symptoms of PMT,) as well as Sulphur, the beauty mineral (good for hair, eyes, skin and teeth). It is also packed with iron, B-vitamins and the essential amino acid tryptophan which the brain uses to make serotonin. It is full of anti-oxidants and has a high ORAC rating (ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a system developed to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb free radicals in the body). In fact, chocolate is rated higher than many other well known anti-oxidants such as blueberries, goji berries, broccoli and green tea.
The main reason that chocolate (whether raw or heated) is controversial with regards to health is because it contains caffeine and theobromine (which is similar to caffeine). Both can have stimulating effects on some people, particularly when raw and especially if eaten in excess. For those with adrenal fatigue or who leads stressful lives, eating chocolate in moderation is a wise move. For some people however, as surprising as it seems, raw chocolate can have a calm relaxing effect.
Chocolate is viewed by many as being medicinal, it certainly is a magical food and can quite easily be part of a balanced diet. If you don’t have a sweet tooth then try adding raw chocolate to savoury dishes – sprinkle cacao nibs in a salad or add them to dips and sauces.
Raw chocolate often introduces people to the raw food lifestyle and for that reason alone it can be educating and inspiring. For further reading on this subject, have a look at this article by Kate Magic