Tag >> cacao

 There is no doubt, our heart is one of the hardest working organs in our bodies, and is definitely deserving of some good old fashioned TLC. While reducing stress and getting adequate exercise are two very important facets of heart-health, incorporating more heart-healthy superfoods into the diet can have incredible effects. Your heart will thank you if you start eating more of these 12 superfoods, we promise.

1. Cacao (Raw Chocolate )

Raw cacao is rich with flavonol compounds which act as powerful antioxidants and also help protect the heart. Cacao is also an exceptional source of minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc, which help fortify the blood.

2. Berries

The diverse range of polyphenol antioxidants within berries, such as anthocyanins and ellagic acid, help fight free radical damage and inflammation, and keep LDL "bad" cholesterol levels in check.

3. Citrus

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and kumquats are rich with Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which help protect the elasticity of our blood vessels and also act as potent antioxidants.

4. Coconut Butter

Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap, but current research shows that the saturated fat contained in coconut butter is actually one of the best for your body, your heart included. The body needs saturated fats in order to produce necessary hormones, and coconut fat burns very clean as an energy source and also helps boost the metabolism.






 

Image: Rawmio Raw Chocolate Hearts - available HERE

Have you ever gifted someone you care about chocolate as an expression of your love? Most of us can affirm that we have - and while it might just seem like the classic, fool-proof thing to do (who doesn't love chocolate?!), there is actually science behind why chocolate has remained synonymous with love throughout time, and why eating a little chocolate each day might actually be doing your body and mind a world of good.


1. That Mind-Body Connection

While processed, sugar and dairy-laden chocolate is a common comfort food, research shows that going for dark (and preferably raw) chocolate does more than just feed your taste buds, it also feeds your brain. While cacao contains over 300 different chemical compounds, there are several that have an incredible effect on our neurology. Compound phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that our adrenal glads naturally create during times of excitement, is found also within cacao - the base ingredient of chocolate. This chemical reacts with our neurology and can quicken our heart rate, increase focus, and mimic that happy fluttery "on cloud 9" feeling we experience when we fall in love. Anandamide, known as "the bliss molecule" triggers the release of endorphins, elevates the mood, and can even bring on a sense of euphoria. Sounds like true love to us!

2. Antioxidant Love

Cacao is rich with flavonoid polyphenols - bioactive phytochemicals that possess serious antioxidant capabilities; in fact, cacao is one of the richest sources of antioxidants on the planet. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of raw cacao nibs is 62,100 per 100g, while goji berries rate in at 25.300, acai at 18,500, and blueberries at 2,400 - all of which being incredible sources of antioxidants in their own right, but as you can see, they are overshadowed by the antioxidant master: raw cacao. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, help guard the body against degenerative disease, and help our skin maintain elasticity and youthfulness.


3. Mineral-Love

Cacao is one of the richest sources of magnesium, a critical mineral for bone mass and also muscle relaxation and overall function. Magnesium also helps prevent muscle cramps, and can lessen the pain associated with menstrual cramps for women during their cycles (you're craving chocolate for a reason, ladies!). Cacao is also naturally high in calcium, zinc, sulfur, iron, copper, potassium and manganese. Nourished blood means a nourished body!

4. Cardiovascular Love

We mentioned the antioxidant capabilities of flavonoids above, but these powerful phytochemicals also have a particularly positive impact on the health of our cardiovascular system , including our blood vessels and our heart. Flavonoids help increase blood flow and reduce high blood pressure. They also help strengthen the integrity and elasticity of bloods vessel and capillary walls, making them less likely to burst.

5. Eat Chocolate...Stress Less

It turns out emotional eating might not be all bad. A study published by the Journal of Proteome Research found that eating 40 grams (about 1.4 oz) of dark chocolate per day for a timeframe of two weeks actually reduced cortisol levels, the stress hormone that is most known for activating the fight-or-flight response.

Find Rawmio's artisan-crafted, stone ground  raw chocolate in our shop for up to 25% off now through Valentines Day 2/14. Order $100 dollars or more and get a FREE raw chocolate bark of choice. Keen on a specific flavor? Leave us a note in the customer notes section at checkout. 




















 

image credit: Evert Jan 

A Booming (and Growing) Industry 

Do you have a special place in your heart for chocolate? If so, you are in very good company. Chocolate is a multi-billion dollar global industry, and as the health benefits of dark chocolate (think antioxidants and heart-healthy flavonols) get more mainstream attention, consumer demand is growing at an unprecedented rate. By year 2017, the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service expects that global sales will reach $143 billion. While most people consume chocolate without thinking twice about the industry that they are supporting, that innocent looking bar of chocolate may in fact have a (very) dirty little secret….

Starting from the Beginning: Theobroma Cacao


In an effort to make snack time as nutritious as possible, trail mix, with its unsuspicious combination of nuts, dried fruits, and maybe a few chocolate chips, might seem like one of the friendliest options available. Unfortunately, this might not be the truth. Sugar, hydrogenated soy and cottonseed oils, excess sodium, "natural" or artificial flavors, and even sulfur dioxide (a preservative and color enhancer) can ALL be lurking in that innocent looking package of fruits and nuts. However, trail mix lovers, DO NOT DESPAIR.

Our RawGuru trail mix is hand crafted by loving hands here in the Windy City Organics superfood facility. The ingredients include a simple but delicious combination of fresh, raw, and organic nuts and seeds, nutrient-rich super fruits such a goji berries, Incan berries, and mulberries, and every trail mix lovers favorite part - chocolate, and not just any chocolate: stone ground, raw, organic chocolate HEARTS. Find our RawGuru Trail Mixes HERE .

Happy, healthy snacking! 

Written by Anna Speaks - RawGuru Resident Blogger





Chocolate will never cease to be a fantastic option not only for lovers but also for people in
pursuit of long-term health benefits in late years of their lives. In reference to a research that was presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), raw chocolate from cacao powders contain plenty of antioxidants , including epicatechin and catechin, coupled with small amounts of fiber. Also, the gut bacteria are capable of breaking down and fermenting components in raw chocolate to produce anti-inflammatory compounds that are essential for your health. Here are the best 9 health benefits of raw chocolate:

1. Healthy Brain Function

Researchers from the University of Nottingham discovered that consumption of chocolate can help in sharpening the mind and improving cognitive skills. Professor Ian Macdonald, the study author, said that chocolate is rich in flavanols, which promote the flow of blood in critical areas of the brain that determine performance and attention over a short period. Macdonald also said that consumption of flavanol-rich chocolate was associated with increased grey matter flow for up to three hours.

2. It Promotes Cardiovascular Functions

Studies have shown that moderate consumption of dark or raw chocolate can lower blood pressure while reducing bad cholesterol levels by nearly 10%. This is because raw chocolate contains antioxidants like flavanoids commonly found in green tea and red wine. Also, raw chocolate is an excellent source of potassium and copper, two minerals that are essential in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. However, chocolate is high in calories, and excessive consumption should be avoided.

3. Colon Cancer Prevention

About Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, a new animal study suggests that raw chocolate consumption may help in colon cancer prevention. Individual ingredients (flavanoids) in raw chocolate help in elimination of unhealthy cells from your body through a process called apoptosis. Through this process, flavanoids can help in destruction and removal of cancerous cells along the digestive tract, especially the large intestines.

4. Reducing Cholesterol

According to researcher Mee Young Hong, PhD, associate professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at San Diego State University, eating raw chocolate can help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. In Hong’s study that involved 31 men and women, she found that participants who took dark chocolate lowered their bad cholesterol by nearly 20% and increased good cholesterol by about 20% compared to those who ate white chocolate.

5. Decrease Menopause and PMS Symptoms

Most women crave for chocolate before and during their menstrual periods. About Dr. David Wolf, this is mainly because of the much needed magnesium contained in chocolate. Dr. Wolf says that women experience a decline in magnesium levels in the body during menstruation which contributes to increased premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopausal symptoms . Raw chocolate helps to supplement magnesium deficiencies during the menses cycle, lowering the effects of PMS for therapeutic results. Plus chocolate regulates hormonal imbalances to reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms.

6. It Improves Digestion

There are healthy bacteria that live in your large intestines that ferment both the antioxidants and fiber found in raw chocolate. Chocolate delivers high amounts of these helpful microbes that improve digestion. According to Andrew Marten, co-founder of Ohso, a company based in Britain that manufactures cocoa brands, the friendly bacteria help in positively influencing gastrointestinal functions to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. In fact chocolate delivers higher amounts of healthy bacteria than yoghurt and milk drinks, he added.

7. It supports Weight Loss

A new study shows that eating chocolate can help you to stay slim. According to the U.S. study, regular consumers of chocolate tend to have less body fat than those who don’t. Researchers suggested that calories contained in raw chocolate increase metabolism, which prevents storage of fat. According to Dr. Beatrice Golomb, study leader from the University of California at San Diego, the composition of calories in chocolate determines the ultimate impact on weight. Chocolate also reduces appetite and lowers food cravings.

8. Increases Energy, Alertness

Apart from being packed with calories for energy production, chocolate is also loaded with anti- inflammatory compounds and magnesium, which can make you feel less pain when working out. It boosts your energy levels and alertness to make exercising more enjoyable. Caffeine in raw chocolate has stimulating effects that can make that extra mile seem like a short jaunt.

9. It Promotes Healthy Blood Flow

About a small study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, chocolate may help improve vascular health by increasing the flow of blood. Patients above 70 years suffering from peripheral artery disease (PAD) who took dark chocolate managed to walk longer distances (11%) than their counterparts who didn’t. According to study author Lorenzo Loffredo from the Sapienza University of Rome, they noted significantly improved blood flow in participants who ate chocolate.

Conclusion

The health benefits of raw chocolate may be numerous than what has already been discovered. Many studies have shown how chocolate bars and candies can improve the quality of life at present and in the future. However, chocolate should be consumed in moderation as there is nothing right in too much of anything.

References:

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/health-news/can-chocolate-really-help-for-weight- loss43751.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_chocolate

Author Bio:

Vaileria Dennis is a Health and Beauty expert. She has written various articles on Beauty and
Makeup. In recent years, she has had an opportunity to research about Solvaderm Skin care routine. She is always excited to share her ideas related to Beauty care and Makeup Tips.

Connect with Vaileria on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.



 It all began last winter in Paris with a jar of raw hemp butter, a bag of cacao nibs and a packed of organic dried figs. Despite being a chocolate veteran—my mother gave me 85% cocoa chocolate squares as pacifiers when I was hardly standing on my two feet yet—I had never considered dipping a fig in dark chocolate, let alone dipping the fig in hemp butter and topping it with cacao nibs. But I did: I took a dried fig, cut it in half, spread a dollop hemp butter on top and dipped it in cacao nibs.

The sweet, chewy dried fig, smooth, nutty, hemp butter, and crunchy intense nibs immediately created a delectable gustative explosion in my mouth…which immediately began to water for more. Ever since last winter, I’m a hemp-fig-cacao addict, and I feel no shame. If you’re eerily relating to my story, I have excellent news: this specific addiction is healthy, and very brain friendly. For a cultural and nutritional introduction to figs you can go to Anna Hays’ Gettin Figgy with It The Raw Vegan Way. Because of their awesome nutritional values, figs are rumored to help lower high blood pressure, lose weight, prevent postmenopausal breast cancer, as well as promoting bone density, a healthy digestion, and efficient eyes.

Cacao, an anti-oxidant filled legendary super food, needs no introduction. When raw, cacao contains more antioxidants than acai, goji or blueberries, any teas, or red wine. Catechin, one of the antioxidants found in cacao, may prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart failure, cancer, stroke and diabetes. It is also being studied for potential use in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. And did you know the theobromine in cacao reduces coughs better than codeine and helps with asthma? Then there’s dietary fiber, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and about 300 more compounds! And though it is said to be addictive because cacao causes our brains to release certain “feel good” neurotransmitters, no real proof of any proper addictive qualities has been found to date. A bit like the rumors of THC in hemp: yes, there might be, but less than 0,1%, otherwise hemp would be as illegal as cannabis. In fact, whereas there have been studies correlating cannabis use to loss of short term memory, hemp is a very brain and memory friendly food due to it’s almost perfect omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio. It’s also a fantastic source of protein (even the butter), fiber, vitamin E, and a good source of vitamins A, B1, B1, B3, B6, C, D. Minerals include magnesium, calcium, potassium and brain friendly phosphorus (“I think, therefore I use phosphorus”). Fatty acids, phosphorus, flavonoids, euphoria inducing compounds, and a little fruit to keep us from a hypoglycemic crash: my new favorite trio is therefore a smashing snack when demanding mental work is at hand, no matter what part of the brain you’re using. Without further ado, here is a simple pick me up recipe!