cacao-356x334If you are like most of the Western world, at some point in your life you’ve experienced the lure and addiction of chocolate. Have you ever wondered why you feel powerless to resist its rich, lingering taste?

The answer has nothing to do with your being weak-willed. It has to do with your brain chemistry and chemicals known as neurotransmitters that tell your body what to do.

These neurotransmitters determine our moods, influence our thinking and effect our concentration, alertness and energy levels and sometimes trigger emotions like euphoria.

So don’t beat yourself up about your love of chocolate addiction. If you do have an uncontrollable urge to each chocolate, however, think about eating small amounts of raw cacao in place of chocolate (ideally with no sugar.)

Besides the mood elevating neurotransmitters, raw cacao retains more antioxidants than processed and heated chocolate and also contains over 300 compounds, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. However, at least 2 of these compounds are undesirable.

The first controversial compound is theobromine which can stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels similar to caffeine (only with less power.)

And the second undesirable compound is oxalic acid which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, much like spinach, chard and other foods.

Again, the key to healthy eating is moderation. Eating no more than 4-6 heaping teaspoons of raw, organic cacao per day is well within moderation (about 40 grams of raw cacao nibs.) Consider replacing your morning cup of coffee (and related jitters) with a raw cacao drink loaded with antioxidants and bliss chemicals.

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