Cacao powder is the superfood that should be in every kitchen. Packed with minerals, good fats and powerful antioxidant compounds, cacao is as super as a superfood can be.
Cacao health benefits
Cacao powder is made from the seeds of the cacao plant, which are also used to make cocoa and chocolate. Cacao is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These molecules are produced naturally in the body, but can also be introduced from external sources such as pollution and UV light from the sun.
Cacao is also a good source of minerals, including magnesium, which is important for nerve and muscle function, and zinc, which is essential for a healthy immune system. In addition, cacao contains flavonoids, which are plant compounds that have been shown to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving blood flow.
One potential benefit of cacao is that it may improve heart health. Some studies have suggested that consuming cacao may help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, cacao may help reduce the risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Another potential benefit of cacao is that it may help with weight loss. Some studies have suggested that the flavonoids in cacao may help reduce appetite and increase fat burning, leading to weight loss. In addition, cacao may help improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Cacao may also have some cognitive benefits. Some research has suggested that consuming cacao may improve blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and memory. Additionally, cacao may help reduce stress and improve mood, which can have a positive effect on cognitive performance.
Overall, cacao powder may offer a range of potential health benefits, including improved heart health, weight loss, and cognitive function. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of cacao on these and other health conditions. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating cacao into your diet.
Regular cocoa is already associated with dramatically lower death rates: one study found that men who eat the most chocolate had half the risk of dying compared to those who ate the least! There was an even greater 60% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke.
However, cocoa usually goes through a chemical process called “Dutching” that strips out most of the good stuff. Cacao comes to you raw and uncut.
Theobroma cacao is the raw, supercharged form of cocoa with even higher levels of minerals and active compounds. Here are 20 delicious ways to get more theobroma cacao into your diet.
Article image from Living Fresh Daily
1. Vegan Gluten-Free Oreos
The easiest and healthiest vegan Oreos, with a three-ingredient crunchy chocolate cookie sandwich and lots of filling options. Super simple and tasty that are sure to be popular.
From Feasting on Fruit
2. Superfood Boost Mint Hot Cacao
Get a superfood boost with this Mint Hot Cacao! Made with the nutrient-rich cacao powder, a few drops of refreshing peppermint oil, almond milk and coconut palm sugar. Peppermint has been found to boost athletic performance within minutes.
From The Worktop
3. Chocolate & Beetroot Layer Cake with Cacao Fudge Frosting
Rich is the word here. Especially the frosting, with its star ingredient, avocado! Yes, avocado! It gives the frosting the perfect smooth and creamy texture. It also helps it hold its shape while providing a good dose of healthy saturated fat.
From Gather and Feast
4. Homemade Spicy Hot Cocoa with Cacao Powder
Learn how to make a decadent-yet-healthy hot cocoa recipe on your stove-top in minutes using cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder), cinnamon powder, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and your favorite sweetener + milk (dairy or dairy-free). Once you go homemade, you’ll never want to use the store-bought mixes again.
From The Rising Spoon
5. Aphrodisiac Smoothie with Cacao and Maca
Sex and food are deliciously intertwined. There’s no denying it. Maca powder is a natural aphrodisiac but the research is less clear on cacao (but don’t underestimate the power of the placebo effect!)
This is an incredibly simple recipe, and you can adapt it in all sorts of ways if you wish.
From The Roasted Root
6. Cacao Powder Energy Balls
These protein-packed cacao & date energy bombs will help keep your body sustained and your mind focused, without the sugar crash from other sweet snacks. This kick-ass recipe gets its sweetness solely from dates.
From Organic Authority
7. Two-Ingredient Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles
These raw chocolate truffles that only require two ingredients!
This recipe is so easy that there’s absolutely no excuse not to try it out. This is a great one for the newbie raw foodies to try. This recipe’s simplicity will really make you think about how complicated foods have gotten.
From Raw Manda
8. Easy Homemade Paleo Dark Chocolate
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat from time to time, especially when that treat is pretty healthy. With no refined sugar, soy, or dairy, this Easy Homemade Paleo Dark Chocolate recipe is delicious and a perfect way to enjoy a “healthy” dessert without feeling deprived.
From Living Well Mom
9. Chocolate Almond Butter Shake
If Reese’s Cups were made with almond butter and dark chocolate, and you blended them with almond milk, banana, and dates, this is what it would taste like. Need we say more?
10. Cacao & Maca Super Cookies
These cookies are free of all the usual cookie ingredients. There are no eggs or dairy, no sugar or chocolate either. No, these superpowered cacao & maca oat cookies are charged with natural goodness only.
From Made by Luci
11. Cacao Date Smoothie
A revitalizing Cacao Date Smoothie sweetened naturally with nourishing potassium, magnesium, and fiber-rich dates to help you get your glow back.
12. Paleo Cacao-Coconut Pudding
Made with pure ingredients like raw honey, cacao powder and coconut milk – with a creamy, ripe avocado as the base – this recipe makes just enough for you and your paleo-loving pals. Top with chopped nuts or fresh fruit for a perfect clean-eating splurge.
13. Super Mushroom Cacao Elixir
Mushrooms are not only packed with vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin D (provitamin D2), they contain a unique number of immune supporting compounds. These include polysaccharides (including beta glucans), glycoproteins, ergosterols and triterpenoids.
It is the combination of these compounds working in a synergy that makes mushrooms so medicinally beneficial. Combined with cacao, maca and the other incredibly nutritious ingredients and you have synergy upon synergy. An amazing elixir.
From Christine Bailey
14. Low-Carb Chocolate Hazelnut Spread aka Keto Nutella
This keto Nutella is the perfect high-fat treat for your ketogenic diet. It’s dairy-free, sugar-free and won’t spike your blood sugar.
15. Healthy Chocolate Energy Bites
These energy balls are made with whole food ingredients and are so rich and chocolatey. Use cacao powder to ensure that these little energy bites are as good for you as possible. Make a batch and keep them in your refrigerator so you can eat one whenever you need a little pick me up.
16. Cacao Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
This thick and creamy Cacao Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie is made with nutrient-dense cacao nibs and cacao powder. Perfect for breakfast or any time of the day!
From Thyme & Love
17. Mayan Mocha Superfood Coffee Recipe with Raw Cacao
Blended with creamy cashew milk, a spicy cayenne kick, and the nutritious addition of the Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer. Mayan Mocha Coffee that has been called “the most delicious drink in their life” by those who’ve tried it.
From Breakfast Criminals
18. Amazing Flourless Sweet Potato Healthy Brownies
If you are looking to make a delicious treat with no refined sugars, then these Amazing Sweet Potato Healthy Brownies will make your day. A healthy baking experience you will love, using delicious sweet potatoes.
19. Superfood Hot Cacao Tonic
This version of hot cocoa has skin-beautifying power and tasty tonic superfoods like tocopherols, collagen and pine pollen. Make this little cuppa part of your winter beauty regimen!
From The Chalkboard Mag
20. Blueberry Cacao Flaxseed Smoothie
One for Spring and Summer here. This Blueberry Cacao Flaxseed Smoothie is the perfect smoothie for a hot summer day. It makes for a quick and delicious breakfast or snack to beat the heat.
This particular blueberry smoothie has been my go-to for years. Its combination of blueberries and subtle hint of chocolate is a helping from heaven. The color itself is enough to stop you in your tracks.
We’ve recently added a post on keto chocolate recipes. Check out this collection of keto brownie and low-carb blondie recipes and our how to use maca powder post. Turmeric is another versatile ingredient that works in many recipes.