Wondering about the nutritional benefits of raw chocolate or raw cacao? Read on to find out if raw chocolate is actually good for you.
I can't say it any better than this author so I thought I'd share with you the words of Jennifer Murray. This is an article written by her found on about.com:
Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao (Raw chocolate)
Is chocolate really good for us, or do we just wish that it was?
I'll never forget the day my first acupuncturist told me it was good for me to eat chocolate. What a genius she was! So astute, so well educated, and clearly not to be doubted. She believes there is a reason why some people's bodies crave chocolate; that somehow, something in the chocolate helps your body toward it's goal of being balanced. In the years since, there has been a lot of controversy over whether or not she is right.
In the raw foods community many people believe in raw cacao, or raw chocolate (not the roasted, processed cousin known as cocoa) as a super food for health and vitality. Nobody is claiming that the sugar and various other ingredients that usually accompany chocolate are also good for you, but what about the raw cacao, raw chocolate bean itself?
Nutritional Value and Reputed Benefits of Raw Chocolate in Raw Culture
The much touted nutritional benefits or raw cacao range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function to alleviating stress. The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. It may cause the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called anandamide which would account for the euphoric sensation some feel when indulging in chocolate. Not much is known about how the ancient civilizations of the Americas used chocolate, but it was certainly treasured by them for medicinal purposes. Nowadays we know that raw cacao is certainly very high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. The essential fatty acids found in chocolate may help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Amongst the loftiest claims in raw food culture is that raw cacao (without added sugar or dairy products) will reduce your risk of cancer as the high levels of antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.