Cacao has long been consumed for its many purported healing properties. After all, it is well-known that cacao contains more antioxidants than many other foods. Cacao is also well known for being one of the primary ingredients for the production of chocolate. As more and more people begin to look for healthy alternatives to traditional flour, cacao flour is popping up at an increasing rate. Not only does cacao flour contain healing properties, but it is incredibly delicious. Below, we will be going over what cacao flour is, some of the benefits of cacao flour such as its nutritional value, and how you can use it.
What Is Cacao Flour?
Cacao flour is made from the cacao bean and is essentially crushed cacao beans that have been separated from the fatty part of the bean known as cocoa butter. The nutritional benefits and health benefits of cacao make it an amazing food source that can be enjoyed on a regular basis.
What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Cacao Flour?
Cacao flour is full of nutrients! And, it is a rich source for antioxidants, flavonoids and healthy fat. Soon after you eat or drink cacao, you will notice a change in your mood from the tryptophan that it contains. What could be better? It's healthy, tastes delicious and makes you feel good! Below are some of the health benefits of cacao flour.
Cacao is extremely high in magnesium. In fact, it is actually one of the best sources of magnesium that you can get in your diet. Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs to produce energy efficiently and to ensure you are absorbing calcium at an optimal rate. Without sufficient magnesium intake, your body will not operate efficiently. Studies have shown that a lack of magnesium intake has been linked to numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease.
Another thing that cacao is packed with is flavonoids. This is very important because flavonoids play a critical role in providing antioxidant support to our body. Because of their antioxidant activity, it can lead to numerous positive health benefits including keeping blood pressure under control, reducing bad cholesterol, and even fighting against inflammation throughout the body.
3. Phenylethylamine (PEA)
Cacao is not only a source of tryptophan which increases serotonin production, but it also stimulates the release of Phenylethylamine (PEA) which is well known to provide boosts in both focus and awareness. PEA is also known to be a natural antidepressant.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cacao Flour?
Cacao flour, created from the Cacao plant has many health benefits that most people do not realize. Lets take a look at the benefits:
1. Reduce Inflammation
As mentioned, due to the high level of antioxidants that cacao flour contains, it is a good source for reducing inflammation throughout the entire body. By providing the body with more flavonoids, it can help the body better deal with inflammation which has been shown to be the precursor for numerous diseases. This alone makes it worth considering adding to your diet.
2. Reduce Blood Pressure
Another benefit of cacao flour is its ability to reduce blood pressure. Because cacao can have a direct and positive impact on the level of nitric oxide in your blood. This can help to ensure that your blood vessels are dilated which can keep your blood flowing optimally. Having healthy blood pressure levels can minimize risks of blood clots and reduce the chances of stroke or heart attack.
3. Boost Brain Function
Because cacao contains flavanols, which have been shown to improve nitric oxide production, it can help increase the flow of blood to your brain. This helps make you much more alert and aware. Likewise, cacao has been shown to stimulate the release of PEA which has been shown to improve awareness and focus.
4. Improve Mood
Cacao helps release serotonin in the brain, which can have a positive benefit on your mood.
5. Improve Symptoms Of Diabetes
Flavanols in cacao can help improve symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes by reducing inflammation throughout the body.
Cacao also contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber plays a role in helping to keep your digestive system operating efficiently.
7. Reduce Stress
Studies have shown that cacao consumption can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.
The flavonoids in cacao flour can make it a good supplement for those looking for anti-aging properties to protect your brain from the consequences of aging.
9. Good For Skin
Because cacao contains antioxidants, it can help fight against inflammation and inflammatory skin conditions.
10. More Energy
The magnesium and other energy-producing vitamins and minerals in cacao help to provide your body with sustainable energy.
How Can Cacao Flour Be Used?
The use of cacao flour is unlimited! It can be used in any sweet treats, decadent desserts, and in delicious main courses for breakfast, lunch or dinner! If you can imagine it you can create it with this delicious and healthy alternative flour.
- Add To Smoothies - One of the best and easiest ways to use cacao flour is by adding it to your smoothies. No matter what smoothie you enjoy, you can add cacao flour to it to make it taste better.
- Hot Chocolate - You can make your own healthier hot chocolate by using cacao flour. And, it will give you a lot of healthy nutrients that you wouldn't normally get when you are drinking hot chocolate.
- Making Mousse - If you want to make mousse to eat by itself or to add to something, you can always enhance the flavor and the nutritious benefits by making it with cacao.
- Make Your Own Chocolate Bars - You can also use the cacao flour to make your own chocolate bars. This can help you dictate what goes into your chocolate bars to avoid having a lot of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients in it.
- Mole Sauce - Use cacao flour as the substitute for chocolate or cocoa powder to make mole sauce. This recipe is one that you will not want to miss trying. Check out our recipes blog for this delicious mole sauce recipe!
What is The Difference Between Cacao Flour and Cocoa Powder?
Both cacao and cocoa come from the cacao bean. Cacao has a more bitter taste than cocoa because it is essentially the ground beans that are unprocessed. Therefore, it retains more nutrients than cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is created when the beans are processed at greater temperatures and is often packaged with additives such as sugar and dairy. Because of this, cocoa powder contains fewer nutrients due to the heavy processing involved. Thus, by default, cacao flour is much healthier for your body. In addition, cacao has more fiber, iron, magnesium, and protein than cocoa powder.
Quick Recipes For a Healthy Sweet Treat
1. Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Take 1 cup of Macadamia nuts, 1 avocado, 1 tablespoon of cacao flour, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and 1 cup of milk. Simply blend all of the ingredients together until you get a smooth texture and place it into the refrigerator until it is chilled and thickened.
2. Hot Chocolate
This recipe is a piece of cake. You will be making hot chocolate as you normally would. Except for this time, it's healthier. Get the raw cacao flour and whisk it into coconut milk with vanilla extract and some sea salt. Do this until you get a smooth liquid and simply heat it up until it's hot enough to drink.
Overall, cacao is one of the most delicious nutritious ingredients you can add into your diet. By using cacao flour as an alternative for other flour or by adding it to your smoothies or other recipes, you will not only be able to enjoy the delicious flavor, but you will also be able to take advantage of all of the nutritious properties that it comes with.