Healthy Chocolate Treats

Mar 30, 2018 | Recipes | 2 comments

Cacao vs cocoa and a bit of history

I absolutely love chocolate.

Did you know that chocolate can be good for you?

No?  Well, goods news then my friend… It absolutely can.

Allow me to explain why and to share with you some of my favourite healthy chocolate treats.

WHERE DOES CHOCOLATE COME FROM?

Chocolate comes from the seeds of Theobroma cacao, or simply; the cocoa tree.

Theobroma derives from an ancient Greek word which translates to ‘food of the gods’. 

I can’t say I disagree.

Historically, chocolate was so prized that cacao seeds were used as a form of currency.  Some people would even try to counterfeit it!

The Mayans and Aztecs were definitely on to something because modern scientific research is finding new ways in which chocolategood quality chocolatecan be worth its weight in gold when it comes to your health.

What chocolate is good for you?

The healthiest forms of chocolate are dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) and cacao nibs, which is its natural form.

And for those who are wondering about milk and white chocolate, sorry my dear friends, the health benefits of these processed and sweetened versions are practically none.

Dark chocolate and cacao nibs are high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. 

Two groups of antioxidants found in dark chocolate are flavonoids and polyphenols; they’re found in much greater amounts than in both tea or red wine.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COCOA AND CACAO?

When I talk about health benefits, I’m referring to raw cacao, not cocoa powder, which looks the same. 

Just to confuse you further, both types derive from the cocoa bean but the finished products are vastly different.

Especially nutrition-wise.

Cacao vs Cocoa

Cocoa powder is raw cacao which has been roasted at a high temperature. 

Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering its overall nutritional value.

So let’s get back to raw cacao, our true friend in this conversation.  It is one of the best food sources of magnesium and iron, which builds the blood and helps to transport oxygen through our body. 

It also contains potassium, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.  Cacao can also be high in flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity.

Additionally, cacao contains a compound called phenylethylamine, which is thought to elevate mood and support energy.

Finally, A tip for my diary loving friends.

Research shows that dairy inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from raw cacao.  So if you’re making a cacao shake you’re better off using a non-dairy milk, such as almond or coconut, in order to reap all of the antioxidant benefits. 

Here are my three healthy chocolate treats.

Healthy Hot Chocolate

A personal little favourite

Ingredients

  • 1 cup / 250ml almond milk
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

How To Make It

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat and stir using a whisk, breaking up any lumps as you go.

Pour into your favourite cup or mug and enjoy it while its still hot.

Fruit & Nut Chocolate Bark 

Simply fruitylicious

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • ½ cup chopped unsweetened dried fruit (e.g. cranberries or mango)
  • Dried chillies (OPTIONAL)

How To Make It

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a saucepan, combine cacao powder and coconut oil. Melt on low heat, stirring continuously.

Add honey and stir for 1-2 minutes until combined. Remove from heat.

Tip into the prepared tin and smooth with a spatula so the chocolate is evenly distributed.

Scatter over the remaining ingredients (you can add a pinch of dried chillies if you’re feeling brave).

Chill in the fridge until the chocolate sets (about 30 mins).

Peel off the parchment and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge (if it lasts that long).

Avocado & Choco Mousse

Avocado all day

ingredients

  • 2 large avocados, soft and ripe
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 6 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp orange zest

how to make it

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Blend on high speed until smooth.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving it.

With love,

Anna x

As a passionate student of Nutritional Therapy Anna does not only love organic beauty... She loves all beauty.

Based on her very own experiences, she truly believes that living healthier is the key to a beautiful life.

Join Anna's
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As a passionate student of Nutritional Therapy Anna does not only love organic beauty... She loves all beauty.

Based on her own personal experiences, she truly believes that living healthier is the key to a beautiful life.

Join Anna's
Facebook group

2 Comments

  1. Anna

    Love the hot chocolate recipe. I have never thought about putting maple syrup in a hot chocolate before. I love almond milk so will definitely be trying this out soon.

    Reply
    • Anna

      So glad to hear that you are willing to try it Anna! I am sure you will love it x

      Reply

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As a passionate student of Nutritional Therapy Anna does not only love organic beauty... She loves all beauty.

Based on her very own experiences, she truly believes that living healthier is the key to a beautiful life.

Join Anna's
Facebook group

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