Cacao benefits | Cacao health | Cacao nutrition | Ceremonial cacao
Innumerable articles are circulating on the net about the health benefits of dark chocolate, its nutritional content and beneficial compounds. In fact, if you type "is dark chocolate good for you" on any search engine, the results will have you believe that dark chocolate is the new kale!
But how valid can these claims be? Given the overwhelming evidence that sugar is bad for us and no matter how "dark" the chocolate is, it contains a substantial amount of added sugar! And is sugar the only dark secret of “healthy” dark chocolate?
• What is Dark Chocolate?
• The 'Dark' Side of Chocolate Making
• Ceremonial Cacao: the Only Healthy Dark Chocolate
Clever marketing and imaginative advertising have convinced us that dark chocolate is good for us. Often pushed as the 'adult' option, it is regarded as of higher quality than milk chocolate in the culinary world. Many view it as more "gourmet" and fit for more sophisticated palates. The wellness industry has also adopted the idea that dark chocolate is healthy and its consumption has many benefits for the body and our overall well-being. The dark truth is that dark chocolate is not much more than a misleading naming gimmick.
Technically, government and industry standards of what products may be labeled "dark chocolate" vary by country and market. Most, however, agree that dark chocolate should contain at least 50% of what’s called cocoa solids. The other 50% is made up of cocoa butter and sugar! By contrast, milk chocolate contains anywhere from 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk in some form, and sugar. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids and is made simply of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa solids you get — which is supposedly why it has more health benefits. Alas, that’s not the case.
All three types of chocolate are also marketed as baking or cooking chocolate. Baking chocolate usually has a 15-50% cocoa content, depending on whether it is sweet, semi-sweet, or bitter. Of course, recipes that call for “unsweetened” chocolate also typically use a substantial amount of sugar.
Regardless of its sugar content, there is another issue with labeling dark chocolate as healthy chocolate. Whether 'dark' or 'milk,' chocolate as we know it is a highly industrialized, significantly processed food product. So processed, in fact, that it bears little resemblance to the "xocoalt," the bitter ceremonial and medicinal beverage of the Mesoamerican peoples, made from the seeds of the Cacao fruit.
When the Spanish conquistadores brought Cacao to Europe in the 1600s, the hot “xocoalt” drink’s bitter taste was not so appealing to the European palate. This changed with the addition of cane sugar. The now-sweetened hot chocolate’s increasing popularity eventually led to the rise of the industrial chocolate-making process. Though each manufacturer has their own recipe, the process erases most of the nutritional, health, and energetic benefits of the once-revered nutritiously dense and energetically-potent Cacao bean.
The European colonists also introduced the Cacao tree, native only to the Amazonian rainforest, to Asia and West Africa. Today, nearly all of the Cacao beans used by the chocolate-making industry are of lesser quality hybrid varieties grown in West Africa and Southeast Asia.*.
Whatever the variety and geographical origin, chocolate begins with the harvesting and fermentation of the Cacao beans, which are then dried and roasted. Heavy roasting, which allows for machine winnowing -aka mechanical peeling of the outer shell- already destroys many of the bean's active compounds.
After the beans have been roasted and peeled, they are ground into what's called chocolate liquor. This is the final step for creating the only real, healthy dark chocolate - the 100% Pure Cacao paste. With every additional processing step after this stage, Pure Cacao is gradually stripped of its magical health benefits.
Pressing - After grinding, Cacao liquor is heated and placed under pressure to remove the Cacao butter. This process removes the healthy fat from the Cacao, which is often over half of the bean's volume. What remains after the defatting is the so-called "cocoa solids" that commercial "dark chocolate" boasts of containing.
Dutching - After the Cacao butter is removed, the cocoa cake is "dutched" or alkalized. This involves the addition of sugar and changing the pH levels to neutralize acidity, reduce bitterness, and produce more robust flavors.
Refining - After sugar and flavors have been added to enhance the taste, there is a further refinement to reduce particle size and make the chocolate smoother.
Conching - In the conching process, the chocolate is kneaded for up to seven days to completely mix the ingredients and make it even smoother. Sometimes more ingredients are added in this step, depending on the desired flavor and final product.
Tempering - This process heats and cools the chocolate for an even smoother texture and consistency.
The result of this endless processing is a great-looking product that is not in the least bit great for your health or well-being.
The only chocolate that is truly healthy is Ceremonial Cacao, period. It is "dark" chocolate, as no milk is added to it, and no milk is required to mix it into a delicious and nutritionally whole drink. The health benefits lavishly attributed to "dark chocolate" by internet health and wellness experts are only true for Ceremonial Grade Cacao.
Pure Ceremonial Grade Cacao is the number ONE source of:
1. Antioxidants and Flavonoids
It is also EXTREMELY HIGH in:
• Phenylethylamine (PEA)
• Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s)
Antioxidants and flavonoids can protect your cells against free radicals, inhibiting oxidative cellular stress. As they protect tissues from damage, they prevent unwanted inflammatory responses.
Magnesium creates mental clarity and focus. It promotes bone & heart health and metabolizes carbohydrates and glucose, preventing Type 2 diabetes. It gives relief from constipation, PMS, and anxiety.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral. It enhances the action of the hormone insulin, helping keep blood sugar levels regular by improving how the body uses that insulin.
Manganese is necessary for normal brain and nerve function. It helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also metabolizes fat and carbohydrate, helps calcium absorption, and regulates blood sugar.
Theobromine is a gentle, long-lasting cardio-vascular stimulant found almost exclusively in Cacao. Theobromine's effect on the cardiovascular system results in all the nutrients and compounds being carried around the body more rapidly and effectively. Unlike caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, it provides mental focus and lifts mood and energy for an extended period with “no crash.”
If you need further convincing that Pure Cacao is the only and the best healthy dark chocolate, all you have to do is try it for yourself. You will soon be able to judge for yourself. Buy the world's finest Pure Cacao, the only healthy dark chocolate, here:
* The production of this lesser-quality Cacao is now also beset by complex economic, social, and environmental problems, including poverty, child labor, and deforestation