I know you’ve probably been caught up in the whirlwind craze of the superfood cacao, but there’s another incredibly nutritious chocolate worthy of your attention.
Yes, it’s slightly more processed, fermented and roasted, but cocoa also holds some pretty impressive properties. Cocoa butter is extracted from the oils of the cocoa bean, which is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats.
Healthy fats are incredibly important across the diet, especially for vegans who focus on eating largely raw foods, and often indulge in a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. The human brain is made up of almost 60% fat, with many studies revealing the true importance of fatty acids in our diet for brain health.
They have been dubbed as one of the key elements for overall energy, and your brain’s cognitive performance. For this reason, there’s been huge interest in the specific properties contained in cocoa, in particular its ability to induce a positive mood, protect from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and enhance attention and memory.
Many of the impressive health benefits of cocoa butter, are due to the high content of unique antioxidant compounds called flavanols and polyphenols. Flavanols in particular are found to be most abundant in cocoa out of any other food.
They have been linked to improving circulation, while polyphenols protect against harmful UV rays and reduce inflammation in the body.
Both of these compounds are important for reversing any damage caused through poor diet choices, exposure to chemical pollutants and every day stress, all commonly known as free-radical damage.
It’s this consistent damage over time that leads to disease, including cancer. Cocoa has even been shown to halt the growth of cancer cells!
Cocoa butter is packed full of minerals including calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. It’s high in saturated fat, but because it is a healthy fat, this is what makes it beneficial, particularly for heart health and boosting immunity.
It’s only been relatively recently that health experts have recognized that not all fats are bad for you. Again, it’s the polyphenols in cocoa butter that help to lower inflammation, which is what helps to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Plus when the body has less inflammation present, you’re able to operate from a place of high energy.
3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Bark
- 1 cup cocoa butter crushed
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
- Optional: Frozen raspberries crushed, crushed pistachio, pink Himalayan salt
- Line a tray with parchment paper.
- Add the cocoa butter to a ceramic bowl, and place it over a soup pot with simmering water over low heat. Let melt.
- Add the maple syrup and raw cacao powder and mix to combine.
- Pour the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper, and spread it with a spoon in a 1/4 inch layer.
- Top with pistachio and salt, cover with plastic foil and freeze for 5 mins.
- Remove from the freezer, add the crushed frozen raspberries, cover with foil, press easily with your palms, and refrigerate 15 more minutes.
- Remove, chop and serve.