Rise Organic Cacao Review: A Healthy Chocolate
I’ve raved about cacao, touched on its benefits and uses many a time in this blog, but I’ve not yet dedicated a blog post to it. So, here it is. I received Rise Organics Organic Peruvian Cacao Powder to sample and thought this was the perfect excuse to document all that’s great about cacao, what it is and even reveal to you to some simple, but highly delicious and chocolatey (without the guilt) cacao recipes.
Firstly, what is cacao?
Cacao is similar to cocoa powder, but it is cold pressed and much more unrefined. Therefore it is a lot better for you. Cacao powder is more pure and being less processed it retains many more nutrients than cocoa powder (which is usually heated by roasting reducing its nutritional value). Cacao is a superfood as it has a very high nutrient content, including many antioxidants.
Cacao could be defined as healthy chocolate. Chocolate is perceived as bad today because most regular mainstream chocolate bars and drinking chocolates are loaded with sugars, E numbers and other nasties which do make it fattening, bad for teeth and generally unhealthy for your body. However, raw unrefined chocolate (cacao) added to recipes without all this rubbish can be super good for you.
Rise harvest their South American cacao beans by hand, with each being carefully selected to make sure they are of the highest quality. These are naturally fermented to reduce the harsh bitterness, then broken into nibs and ground to produce this nutrient rich feel good cacao powder.
"Matadecacao" by Luisovalles - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Matadecacao.jpg#/media/File:Matadecacao.jpg
Secondly, what are some of the benefits of cacao?
- More antioxidants than red wine and green tea
- A rich source of minerals, especially magnesium
- Also a source of vitamins including vitamin C
- They contain Omega-6 fatty acids
- Can make you feel good thanks to its phenethylamine (PEA which is a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love) and serotonin content
- It has a low GI so won’t spike your blood sugar levels
- Boosts energy and therefore reduces fatigue
On the Rise website they list the following benefits, which they know are specific to their own cacao powder:
‘Micronutrients in Cacao Powder contribute to:
• nervous system support
• process of cell division & specialisation
• normal muscle function
• normal cognitive function
• protein synthesis
• energy-yielding metabolism
• normal psychological function
• formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin
• maintenance of bones & teeth
• oxygen transport in the body ‘
Here are five super easy ways to use cacao powder:
- Hot chocolate – Best to warm some oat milk gently in a pan, add cacao powder to taste and stir/whisk until warmed and smooth. Add honey or cinnamon for extra flavour if needed. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil for a luxurious texture and flavour.
- Smoothies – Really, really great added to a blueberry smoothie.
- Energy Balls – Great added to energy protein balls to make them chocolatey. Either mix them in with the ingredients or roll the balls into the cacao powder to dust.
- Chilli – Instead of adding regular chocolate to your chilli, replace it with a spoonful of cacao powder
- Milkshakes – Whizz together a banana, almond milk and tablespoon of cacao powder to make a healthy and scrumptious banana and chocolate milkshake. Bella, my three year old, absolutely loves it! Here's some we made this week:
And my top two favourite ways to use cacao powder:
- Raw Chocolate Chewy Brownies – different to what you may know as a brownie, but SO delicious, wholesome and moreish
- Dark Chocolate – making your own chocolate just has to be one of the best things to make ever and it's so easy!
(Tip: it’s best to use non dairy milk in order to maximize absorption of the nutrients and antioxidants from raw cacao powder)
Rise Organic Peruvian Cacao Powder comes from the Theobroma Cacao tree which is grown organically in Peru. They are registered with the Vegan Society and certified organic by the Soil Association. You can be sure you are purchasing a 100% pure and organic product. Their 500g bags are pretty hefty, good value and will last. You’ll be surprised at how little you need to get an intense chocolate taste!