Everything You Need to Know About Cacao
Cacao beans have been used by the Aztecs and Mayans for thousands of years. They were highly cherished and even used as currency by these cultures.
Raw cacao contains many chemicals that improve physical and mental well-being along with some neurotransmitters that are associated with the feeling of being in love. Raw cacao also contains theobromine which is similar in effect to caffeine.
Cacao beans can be used to create a powder or nibs. Both the cacao powder and nibs are extremely rich in magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain the most antioxidant flavonoids compared to any other foods, including blueberries, green tea, and red wine.
This superfood is also known to reduce IBS and other digestive symptoms, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of both diabetes and heart disease, and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
So how exactly do you use cacao powder and nibs?
You can incorporate the powder in teas, smoothies, coffee, deserts, protein drinks, and anything else you can think of. You can use the nibs in oatmeal, sprinkled on top of smoothie bowls, in cookies, nut butters, etc.
Here are two recipes: one utilizing cacao powder and they other with cacao nibs.
1. Warm Flax Cacao Drink
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1-2 Tbsp honey or other sweetener to taste
- pinch Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla, if desired
- 1-2 cups hot water
Wisk all ingredients together in a large cup or mug and drink.
2. Raw Vegan Brownies
- 2 cups pitted dates - 1/4 cup cacao cibs
- 1 1/4 cup raw, ground walnuts - 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 cup raw, ground almonds - 2 tsp. espresso powder
- 1/4 cup raw, ground pistachios - 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- Dash of cinnamon
- In a blender, ground the walnuts, almonds, and pistachios until fine.
- Next add in the pitted dates. Repeat pulsing and blending until the mixture has come together. Add in cacao powder. Pulse to combine again.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour in the mixture, add in melted coconut oil, cacao nibs, and remaining ingredients then stir together.
- In a lined (with parchment paper) square pan, pour the brownie mixture in and start to evenly press down until you form a brownie layer.
- Put in fridge for 30 minutes.
- Cut into squares then serve immediately or place in freezer.