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The Aztecs loved cacao. In fact, cacao was so prized by the people that it is said that it was once used as their currency. The Aztecs attributed cacao to their god Quetzalcoatl. According to ancient legends Quetzalcoatl brought cacao to the Aztecs. The story tells of the god travelling from heaven on a star beam to bring them this tree which had been stolen from paradise.
Ancient Aztecs enjoyed a drink made from cacao. It was called chocolatl. This drink was made using raw cacao in its unsweetened form. Since ancient times, cacao has found its way into almost every country. It is commonly enjoyed raw and is a component in the popular treat known as chocolate.
Chocolate is often associated with junk food. This is generally true. To create chocolate, raw cacao is heavily treated, sweetened, heated and separated. Raw cacao holds much more nutritional benefit than processed chocolate.
Cacao is naturally bitter. Many find that this superfood can be better enjoyed if it is sweetened. Sweeten cacao with the sweetener of your choice for a more enjoyable and less bitter flavor experience. Raw cacao nibs are commonly eaten plain or by the handful. Cacao nibs pair well with dried fruits and nuts. Consider using cacao nibs in a trail mix. Cacao nibs do not melt like processed chocolate. However, cacao nibs can be added to baked treats. While they will not melt, the cacao pieces will lend a delightful crunch to any recipe in which they are used. Substitute them for chocolate chips in your favorite recipe. Cacao powder is also commonly available and is easy to substitute for cocoa powder in most recipes. Cacao can be combined with hot milk or soymilk and a sweetener to make a delicious hot chocolate substitute.
Cacao is both delicious and nutritious. Raw cacao contains a large variety of nutritional benefits. It is an excellent source of many minerals and phytonutrients. Cacao contains sulfur, magnesium and a variety of other important minerals. Cacao is also rich in antioxidants. It has been said that raw cacao has an antioxidant concentration of about 10%. This means that cacao contains a higher concentration of antioxidants than red wine, blueberries and green tea. Raw cacao contains twice the level of antioxidants than processed cocoa.
- Cacao is one of the richest superfood sources of antioxidants.
- Cacao contains about 10% antioxidants by weight.
- Cacao has more antioxidants than red wine.
The concentration of antioxidants in cacao is one of the primary reasons that this superfood is so special. The antioxidants in cacao help the body to fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and lead to cancer and other diseases. Regular cacao consumption can lower the risk of heart disease, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes and even general symptoms associated with aging.
You have probably heard that chocolate is good for you, especially dark chocolate. This can be true but the reason for this benefit is the antioxidants. Since more antioxidants are in cacao, it holds more benefit than a processed form of chocolate. For a delicious and healthy snack, try cacao. Cacao powder adds a chocolate flavor to recipes.