Beauties, it’s Easter Weekend and I’m sure many of you will be indulging on the traditional feast of chocolate… I know I will be! So, we thought that in this spirit we’d share some of the benefits of chocolate – or more specifically, cacao!
Firstly, let’s talk about the differences between cacao and cocoa, as I’m sure many of you will recognise cocoa more than cacao. Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter).
Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Unfortunately, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value… so to truly get the benefits, you need to be looking for raw cacao! So sadly, you’re not gonna find this in your regular chocolate bars – look for dark chocolate or raw cacao to really gain those benefits.
You can also extract cocoa butter from the cacao plant, but for this, we’re going to focus just on raw cacao and its benefits! If you’re interested in us talking about the benefits of cocoa butter (and cacao butter…) let us know!
Here are some benefits to raw cacao when consumed
- Boosts hair growth and repair. Consuming cacao or cocoa powder can boost hair growth and even more so after menopause, due to the high level of magnesium.
- Protects your teeth. Research says that unsweetened cocoa, dark chocolate and chocolate liquor contains inhibitors of the dextransucrase enzyme which is responsible for the formation of the plaque on your teeth and can help prevent microbial growth in the teeth and gums. Cocoa-enrich diets can cure periodontitis and infections like gingivitis.
- Mood-boosting: It contains phenylethylamine, a derivative of the amino acid phenylalanine that regulates your mood and energy levels.
- Reduction in obesity. Prevents lipid peroxidation, no inflammation of the organs particularly the liver and blood vessels.
- It can be neuroprotective: cacao can induce new nerve cell growth and increase blood flow in the brain.
- Cacao are rich in flavanols like epicatechin, catechin, epigallic acid, caffeic acid and theobromine. It has an anti-ageing effect as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties. Raw Cacao can also reduce erythema and skin cancers by 25%.
Cacao also contains other important minerals like iron, selenium, copper, zinc and manganese.
Here are some benefits to raw cacao in skincare
- Cacao can improve the appearance of cellulite by firming the skin and breaking down adipose tissue.
- High in antioxidants: with one of the highest measured antioxidant (ORAC) capacities, cacao can help protect your cells from oxidation and ageing, along with soothing redness and blemishes, which is as effective when used in skincare as when you eat it!
- Cacao is very effective at preserving skin’s moisture balance by helping to restore the lipidic layer of the skin, reinforcing the skin barrier.
- The crushed seeds are often used as a gentle exfoliant in skincare products such as body scrubs and face scrubs, hydrating the skin as well.
Of course, we would not be finished without talking about a few products that are all about chocolate… here are a few of our favourites.
Makeup Revolution 24K Chocolate Bar Palette
Yes, I know, this technically isn’t chocolate – but love the look of this and would actually make a great alternative as a gift for someone this Easter as an alternative to chocolate. Lovely colour selection and beautiful packaging.
This is a fabulous food supplement that harnesses the benefits of cocoa made up of Cocoa mass (also known as cocoa liquor), which is from is the first liquid stage of processing cocoa beans, along with cocoa powder and cocoa butter for the sweetness It focuses on the astaxanthin and polyphenolic epicatechins properties in the chocolate to give amazing benefits to the consumers. Astacelle Crystal Defence System: a patent-pending technology that encapsulates dark chocolate cocoa epicatechin polyphenol crystals in astaxanthin micelles (Astacelles) to deliver a unique combination of antioxidants(1)-(3) that are reported to scavenge free radicals
What they say about their chocolate:
Specifically, esthechoc increases oxygen saturation of tissues by 59%*, improves oxygen transport in plasma by 85%*, reduces oxidative damage in mimicked inflammatory conditions by 72%*.
Evolve Radiant Glow Mask
This mask smells like chocolate which is such a gorgeous, sensory experience! It blends raw cacao powder, clay and coconut to buff and revitalise the skin. Skin is left moisturised, exfoliated and calmed – a lovely mask and smells so much like chocolate, you’ll want to eat it!
Artisan Du Chocolate Easter Eggs
Of course, with it being Easter we had to give a mention to the traditional Easter Egg… and these ones from Artisan Du Chocolate are lush, indulgent and delicious.
It’s not the healthiest of solutions, but I personally struggle with the bitterness of dark chocolate, the ones that have the best health benefits. But I find it amazing when added to brownies – it adds a real richness to the flavour, with the sweetness from the other ingredients counteracting with the bitterness of the dark chocolate. You’ll still be gaining those amazing benefits, but in something that you’ll actually enjoy.
So if you’ve got leftover dark chocolate this Easter that you don’t know what to do with, why not add it to a brownie mixture and see what magic it creates?
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