You might have heard me recommend cacao nibs, and it might have crossed your mind that if cacao nibs are alkaline, all chocolate must be okay. After all, it all comes from the same source, the cacao tree. And it all has that delicious, chocolatey taste.
But beyond that, the differences among chocolate products will shock you. They range from mildly alkaline to highly acidic.
And especially at this time of the year, when chocolate is everywhere, it’s worth it to your health to know what you’re really eating.
To explain why chocolate products can be so different, let’s back up. When determining how acidic or alkaline any food is, there are 2 specific factors:
- Sugar content – the higher this is, the more ACIDIC a food is. This is why oranges are acid-forming, whereas lemons and grapefruit are not (they are ALL citric acids and acidic OUTSIDE of the body, but once metabolized, the sugar content determines if they become alkaline-forming, or acid-forming). They all have a lot of minerals, but oranges also have a lot of sugar.
- Mineral content – the higher this is, the more ALKALINE a food is. This is part of the reason why meats, dairy products, and processed foods are acidic. Even though they are low in sugar, they are also low in minerals.
How does this relate to chocolate products?
A food like raw cacao nibs is very low in sugar and very high in minerals. So you know that means it’s an alkaline food.
A milk chocolate bar, on the other hand, is very high in sugar and low in minerals. So of course it’s highly acidic.
The distinction goes far beyond that, however.
The following nasty stuff is often added to the chocolate that we eat as part of the Standard American Diet (or SAD as I like to call it):
- High fructose corn syrup
- Partially hydrogenated soybean oil or other oils (Omega-6 fats)
- Emulsifiers like soy lecithin – these are all acidic and should be avoided
- Milk and/or milk fats, which are also acidic
Compare those ingredients to the ingredients in raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder, or I should say ingredient. The brand of cacao nibs I buy only contains one: certified organic raw cacao.
So when I’m talking about the benefits of cacao or cocoa, I’m talking about the unsweetened kind without any other nasty ingredients.
Here are the 7 reasons raw cacao and unsweetened cocoa is so amazing:
There’s a reason why the people in its native growing zone in Central and South America have celebrated the beans and seeds of the cacao plant for thousands of years.
- More Magnesium than ANY OTHER FOOD
2. More antioxidants than ANY OTHER FOOD
- Highly nutrient dense
The nutrient density of cacao and cocoa benefit every function of the body. One of the many cool facts about these foods is that, in addition to being the highest whole food source of magnesium, the same goes for chromium! This is why cacao keeps insulin levels at bay, and is safe for diabetics to eat.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Iron – a great plant-based way to prevent anemia
- Amino Acids
- Enzymes (including catalase, lipase, and amylase)
- Multiple heart benefits
- They make you feel good!
- They help you lose weight.
So how do you get these great benefits?
You can eat cacao or cocoa in several ways to benefit from them, as long as you eat them in their purest form (ie. not sweetened or combined with other nasty ingredients).
You can snack on raw cacao nibs, add them to a trail mix, and use them in recipes. Nibs are simply cacao beans that have been separated from their husks, roasted or raw (latter ideal), and broken into pieces.
They can be exchanged in recipes easily, so throw them into smoothies for a chocolaty treat and use them in any way you would use cocoa products.
Cacao and cocoa are also available in ground form in products like our Alkamind Organic Daily Protein in creamy chocolate flavor. It supplies a full serving of organic plant-based protein from the best possible sources, and it also tastes delicious!
This is the best tasting and most alkalizing plant-based protein powder you’re going to find, with a whopping 20g of protein, and only 120 calories. Use as a total meal replacement, a healthy snack, or as a recovery shake after a hard workout.
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