Alright, here’s the catch: when I say ‘chocolates’ I’m specifically referring to ‘cacao’, the raw base component of chocolates, and not those boxes of Ferrero Rochers and Toblerone that make you drool.

Cacao is a ‘superfood’, which means it has significantly higher quantities of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other health boosting, anti-aging goodies. Some other commonly known superfoods are broccoli and blueberries. But check this out: raw cacao has nearly 40 times the amount of antioxidants in other superfoods such as blueberries and broccoli. Yes, 40 times!

Here’s some good news for all the die-hard chocolate lovers out there. You don’t have to give up on chocolates; just switch over form creamy milk chocolate to some good old dark chocolate. It’s got most of the benefits of cacao and doesn’t have too many calories from sugars, sweeteners and unhealthy fats, unlike conventional chocolates.

My personal favorite is Lindt 85% Dark chocolate and trust me, you need to try it.

Here are the major benefits of Cacao:

1.       It’s High in Antioxidants:
Cacao is one of the RICHEST sources of antioxidants; and for all the vegans out there, it’s ‘plant based’ too!
Antioxidants absorb negative radicals that are formed in our bodies as a result of exposure to pollution and other environmental toxins and help protect us from its consequences (such as infections and diseases).

2.       It’s a rich source of Iron, Magnesium and Calcium:
Cacao is the RICHEST plant based source of Iron and Magnesium, and has more Calcium than cow’s milk!
·         Cacao has a whopping 7.3mg of Iron per 100g, as opposed to 2.5mg in beef and 3.6mg in Spinach.
·         Magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the Western world and cacao is loaded with it! Magnesium is essential for glycolysis (converting glucose to energy) and its deficiency can have some serious impacts including impaired cognitive performance.
·         Cacao has a staggering 160mg of Calcium per 100g, compared to just 125mg per 100g of Cow’s milk.

3.       A natural anti-depressant:
The next time you think of resorting to a smoke or a drink, just because you’re ‘too stressed’, try a bite of strong dark chocolate. Notice the difference for yourself.
Cacao increases the secretion of dopamine and serotonin (‘feel good hormones’), that help keep stress at an arm’s length.
If cacao helped relive you of some stress don’t forget to share this magical piece of information with your friends!
So as a conclusion, I’ll let the facts and figures do the talking. The benefits of cacao are quite evident and I doubt I need to clarify my point further. The next time you feel like going over to Starbucks and getting yourself your favorite Frappuccino, try a cup of hot cacao instead!

Pro Tip: If you’re someone who uses a chocolate/ vanilla flavored whey powder, try adding in a teaspoon of cacao powder and see the difference in the flavor. Hope you like it!

Author: Shaumik Saha