Thursday, 18 August 2011

The cacao bean and all its friends

When I started doing research on the next of the superfoods that we are going to talk about, the cacao bean, I was saddened to find a lot of negative information about it online. I hope that this is all some misunderstanding, as raw organic cacao, as beans, powder, nibs or whatever, is most definitely a superfood. It apparently contains the most antioxidants to be found in any food, and is especially good for the brain. Cacao beans were used as money in Latin America up until about 130 years ago, which has to say something about how wonderful it is. It has also been used as nutrition for thousands of years, so I really don't think it is unhealthy, or not good for you. A common misunderstanding is that cacao has a high amount of caffeine, which is not true. It only holds about 1/20th of the caffeine amount of coffee.

Sadly, the quite disgusting toxic milk chocolate bars you find in any supermarket, have pretty much nothing to do with this wonderful plant. You find raw cacao in different forms, which you can use for different purposes. It has a quite bitter taste, so it may take some getting used to. The different forms of raw cacao are:
whole cacao beans
cacao nibs
cacao powder
cacao paste (simply cacao ground to a paste)
cacao butter (cold pressed fat from the beans)
I probably use cacao nibs the most, which I mix in with my muesli and eat with soy milk. Another easy to use cacao derivative is raw cacao powder, which you need to make raw chocolate (yum!) and other desserts and smoothies. Basically, there are hundreds of recipes featuring cacao in differnet forms out there, so just go crazy and try some! I will definitely try to incoporate it more in my daily diet.


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