People have known for a long time that cocoa is a magical food. Raw cacao (unroasted cocoa) was used by ancient Mayans to make a frothy, bitter beverage. Cacao was so highly valued for its taste and health benefits that it was often used in Mayan marriage ceremonies and religious rituals.

 

Historically, chocolate was consumed as a beverage by many cultures before it was ever turned into candy or used in baking. Chocolate was first combined with cane sugar in Europe in the 1500s. It was often mixed with milk and heated as well, creating a beverage similar to the hot chocolate we enjoy today.

 

 

Our Cocoa Mojo uses coconut palm sugar in place of white sugar. While too much of any sugar is not supportive to health, coconut sugar brings several benefits to the table that make it a better choice than white sugar. Coconut sugar contains a type of fiber called inulin, which slows glucose absorption, meaning that it won’t cause blood glucose levels to spike as much as white sugar. Coconut sugar also provides trace amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium.

 

Cocoa is packed full of nutrients—iron, magnesium, and calcium, to name a few. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants—one of the best, actually. Antioxidants combat damage done by free radicals, which can come from many different sources and wreak havoc all throughout the body. Basically, antioxidants are health superheroes.

 

With cocoa, buying organic and fair trade is so important, both for the environment and for the health and well-being of the growers who produce the cocoa. Cocoa Mojo is sustainably grown and sourced, and it is organic.

 

 

How can we enjoy the health benefits of chocolate? Eating a sugary chocolate bar every day won’t really do it. Drinking Cocoa Mojo is a great way to start—especially as it includes medicinal mushrooms as well. You’ll get the nutrients and antioxidants of the cocoa, along with immune support and increased energy from the mushrooms.

 

Dark chocolate is a well-known addition to a healthy diet: the high cocoa content and low sugar content maximize the health benefits of this treat. Look for high quality, organic dark chocolate if possible. The taste will be better, and it won’t contain any fillers or additives.

 

 

Another idea: cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are simply chopped up cacao beans. They have a crunchy texture and a rich chocolate-y taste. These are a great topping to sprinkle on smoothies, cereal, and desserts, for chocolate flavor with no added sugar—a great alternative to chocolate chips.

 

Shakes (or smoothies) and raw brownies are another great way to enjoy cocoa or cacao. This raw brownie recipe from Deliciously Ella, made using dates and cacao, is unbelievably good. Almonds can be swapped in for the hazelnuts.

 

To make superfood hot chocolate—add maca or cayenne. Cocoa is already a superfood, but adding one of these delicious extras takes it to the next level.

 

Maca is a powdered root that supports balanced hormones and energy. Native to the Peruvian Andes, it has been used for thousands of years as a health supplement. Incan warriors used maca to increase strength and stamina. Maca is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to all sorts of stress, and it contains around sixty phytonutrients, including many minerals and amino acids. Look for gelatinized maca, which is more potent and absorbable. The combination of maca and cacao is very health supportive and tastes incredible. Maca has a flavor similar to butterscotch or caramel.

 

 

Cayenne is a very traditional addition to cocoa—another ingredient used by the ancient Mayans. Cayenne supports cardiovascular health and good circulation. Try our regular or spagyric cayenne extract.

 

Now you know: eating well can definitely include chocolate, and there are so many ways to enjoy this powerful ancient superfood!

Sources:

 

Axe, Josh. (2017, Mar. 23). Is coconut sugar good for you? Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/coconut-sugar/.

Editors, History.com. (2017, Dec. 14). History of chocolate. Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-americas/history-of-chocolate.

Editors, Ricochet Science. (2016, Apr. 12). Cacao: the Mayan “food of the gods.” Retrieved from: http://ricochetscience.com/cacao-mayan-food-gods/.

Morris, Julie. (2012). Superfood kitchen. New York: Sterling Epicure.