The Diet Struggle – Can Superfoods help you lose weight?

It is a necessity to have a proper diet to always stay healthy, as it is said you are what you eat. The type of diet we use and the kind of food we consume impacts on our bodies. The kind of food you consume plays a significant role in the amount of energy your body burns since dietary –induced thermogenesis accounts for almost ten percent of the energy in our foods. The diet struggle is real for those who intend to lose some weight. Well, worry no more, because superfoods are here to help you get your desired weight. Superfoods are the current in-thing in natural health, and for an excellent reason. They are nutrient dense foods which are the nature’s answers to the present distortions in the modern western diets. According to Adams, M, Superfoods are the nutritional heart and powerhouses which load the human body with minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that fires up the rate of metabolism, pilling up the protein building nutrients which trades fat for muscle gain.

Although there is no definitive description of superfoods, we can refer to them as those foods that are rich in nutrients and have significant benefits to our body system including slowing down the aging process, boost our physical ability and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Superfoods are the foods that have been elevated and are recommended to individuals on a diet. But with recent elevation of some foods, the question has been can they be approved as part of the weight loss diet? We can examine evidence illustrating the importance of some super foods when weight loss is concerned. Examples of superfoods we’ll discuss in detail regarding their advantage in a weight loss diet are the Spirulina and Chlorella.


  • Spirulina

According to Spirulina World Website, Spirulina is one of the earliest life forms of the planet earth, single-celled, microscopic blue, green algae. It is regarded as a superfood because of its massive array of nutrients, essential fatty acids, Chlorophyll, Proteins, Vitamins B, C, and E. Spirulina is usually consumed in the form of a tablets, capsules or powdered way, and can be used as a significant part of the weight loss program. However, Spirulina should be taken by the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should consult your physician before including the superfood as part of your weight loss struggle.

If harvested in the right way from pond or water bodies that are not contaminated, it makes up one of the best sources of nutrients available. Some of the reasons why it has been classified as a superfood and an essential aspect for a healthy, weight loss diet include;

  • High Nutrient Content

Based  on Capelli, B and Cysewski, G. research study in 2011,Spirulina is  a nutrient-dense type of food since it is rich in proteins (with a utilization rate of about 55 percent), thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, iron, minerals and dietary fibers which makes it an excellent weight loss supplement. These vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and enzymes help in metabolism, digestions, removal of toxins, and also prevents absorption of fat.

  • Appetite Suppressant

Whenever you feel hungry your body mechanism is creating this effect so as to fill its needs for nutrients. Thus when you continually feed your body with poor quality foods, your brains triggers appetite in an effort to satisfy what it wants. Based on studies from Spirulina World Website, Spirulina increases the concentrations of the nutrients in the body, thus reducing cravings and hunger in the process. It also suppresses appetite due to its composition of amino acid, Phenylalanine which help stimulate the secretions of cholecystokinin, the scientifically proven appetite suppressant.

  • High in Protein

When it comes to losing weight, a high protein and low carb diet is necessary. Regular intake of Spirulina is ideal for muscle buildings and low carbohydrate diet because of the high content of protein. It contains up to seventy percent of the protein, as well as all the essentials amino acids. According to Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011), the rate of digestive absorption of the protein contained in Spirulina is four times much more than that of a typical beef. An easily digestible protein in combination with a suitable exercise plan helps build the lean body mass, thus helping the body burn more calories through the day.

  • Low in Calories

As compared to beef, Spirulina contains only 3.9 calories in each protein gram, supplying a total of 65 calories for each equivalent protein gram. A 500mg spirulina tablet contains two calories. Because of its chemical compositions, Spirulina enhances the energy performance index since they act by unlocking sugars from the body cells since it provides you with right proportions of daily nutritional needs, without any significant caloric deficiencies.

  • Essential Fatty Acids

According to Boone, L. (2013),   Spirulina is a rich source of the Omega-3 fatty acids and Gamma Linolenic acid, GLA. The GLA regulates the blood sugar levels thus controlling the level of insulin in the human body, eventually minimizing the binging of carbohydrate, helping you lose weight efficiently.

  • Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Spirulina has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which nullifies the harmful oxygen radical, hence preventing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Eventually, it avoids inflammations and the state of stress, which are regarded as the world’s leading factors of weight gains. Another main reason of the importance of Spirulina in weight loss is its ability to increase fat burning during an exercise session. The high oxidant content makes it beneficial in decreasing exercise-induced oxidation that results in muscle fatigue.

  • Besides that, scientific studies done by Khans, Bhadouria, and Bisen, in 2005, show that spirulina has lipid-lowering properties. Thus, it helps to lower the bad cholesterol, the LDL, and the blood levels of triglycerides, increasing the Good cholesterol, HDL in the bloodstreams. Hence, consumption of Spirulina boosts the fat mobilizations that is a crucial component for weight loss efforts.

Though it might not have an appealing taste, Spirulina can be consumed as a capsule or by mixing it with water . The only limitation of Spirulina is that it is costly when compared to the other types of superfoods used for a weight loss diet. Spirulina and Chlorella share some similarities, but they also have differences.

  • Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled microscopic, blue-green algae, often revered as an essential superfood. It is closely related to Spirulina. However, they share slight differences. Unlike the Spirulina, Chlorella can be categorized as either Chlorella Vulgaris or Chlorella pyrenoidosa. The hard outer shell may make it seem not edible but what is important is what is on the inside. Chlorella is primarily composed of a nucleus and a vast array of bioavailable chlorophyll, an excellent substance which counteracts the toxins available in the foods, Besides that, it has B, C and E vitamins, peptides, amino acids, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA ), proteins and polysaccharides. Chlorella has so many health benefits to the human body, and it’s a weight loss superfood due to the following;

  • In both, Lambert’s and Schoenhals’s researchers, Chlorella has a high content of the gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid often deficient because if the common dietary imbalance. GLA is responsible for the restoration of the hormone health in the endocrine system and acts by normalizing the insulin activity so that the blood sugar levels cab stabilize and reduce the cravings.
  • Chlorella acts as an immune System booster. This has been proven by its ability to aid in digestive problems and increase the presence of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal duct. Regular use of Chlorella also increases early inflammatory response and cell activity.
  • Besides that, its iodine contents make it an essential superfood for treating the thyroid imbalances, often a complication of the weight issue. According to Schoenhals, K. (2004), just like Spirulina, Chlorella contains the amino acid, phenylalanine, a naturally occurring appetite suppressant, thus triggering the sensations of fullness.
  • Scientific research conducted by Greg Arnold proves that Chlorella promotes the weight loss by controlling the expressions of genes to produce reductions in the body fat percentage, the total circulating cholesterol as well the levels of the fasting glucose. The Chlorella revs up the enzyme actions in the fat cells to produce energies and eventually to increase the rates of metabolisms,
  • A recent study was done by Na, J. G et al. in 2011, and highlights that Chlorella could be used as a natural medicine for the treatment of the obesity-related complication, all inclusive of the blood glucose, body weights, lipid profiles and insulin signals. The study demonstrated that the Chlorella’s diet-induced resistance of insulin is attributed to its improvement in the signaling of the insulin pathways. It also reduces the blood levels of Cholesterol, triglycerides and the free fatty acids. Besides that, Chlorella protects the pancreatic beta cells which stores and releases the insulin, which helps to control the blood sugar levels in the human body.

Chlorella is mainly can be consumed as a capsule, powder mixed with water or directly after extraction from the hard shell. Though it is viewed as a relative to the Spirulina, some notable differences include: the Spirulina is much larger than the Chlorella. The Spirulina is a blue-green type of algae while the Chlorella is a green type of algae, Chlorella has got a more substantial amount of nucleic acids compared to Spirulina, the Spirulina is easily consumable after harvest, unlike Chlorella which has a hard outer cell. Lastly, Spirulina has got a higher mineral content compared to Chlorella.



For any individual on a diet, superfoods are the foods to consider for your diet, and the Chlorella and Spirulina are the types of superfoods not to leave out. Chlorella and Spirulina need not be taken alone but can be used as supplements to the already available foods. What makes superfoods essential for diet is because they have a dense concentration of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and also because of the healthy properties provided. The ability of most superfoods to lower the body cholesterol levels and increase body metabolism make them essential to be included in a weight loss diet.

Recent trends have illustrated how people have adapted superfoods to their diet. Although it may seem tedious adding superfoods to an already set diet plan, the outcome may be well worth it. Superfoods are satisfying hunger-curbing foods and one advantage compared to other food types is that you can eat more but still lose weight. Chlorella and Spirulina are super foods that we need to tap into for even more and better results. Your diet begins with you and as such consider superfoods for you to have a healthy diet.


Adams, M. (2005). Superfoods for optimum health: chlorella and spirulina. All information contained in the book is copyright, 2006(2007), 2008.

Boone, L. (2013). Powerful Plant-based Superfoods: The Best Way to Eat for Maximum Health, Energy, and Weight Loss. Fair Winds Press (MA).

Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2010). Potential health benefits of spirulina microalgae. Nutrafoods, 9(2), 19-26.

Greg Arnold, D. C. Chlorella: The Superfoods Powerhouse.

Henrikson, R. (2000). Spirulina: Health discoveries from the source of life.

Khan, Z., Bhadouria, P., & Bisens, P. S. (2005). Nutritional and therapeutic potential of Spirulina. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology, 6(5), 373-379.

Lambert, V. Chlorella: The Superfood that Helps Fight Disease. The Telegraph, www. Telegraph. Co. UK/health/wellbeing/6028408/Chlorella-the-superfood-that.

Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011). Spirulina: Nature’s Superfood. Cyanotech Corporation.

Na, J. G., Lee, H. S., Oh, Y. K., Park, J. Y., Ko, C. H., Lee, S. H., … & Jeon, S. G. (2011). Rapid estimation of triacylglycerol content of Chlorella sp. by thermogravimetric analysis. Biotechnology Letters, 33(5), 957-960.

Schoenhals, K. (2004). Green power: superfoods that pack a punch; chlorella growth factor; green Superfoods. Better Nutrition.

Harness the Healing Power of Chlorella

Want to have greater energy and stamina? Looking for natural ways to detox your body? Or maybe you want to slim down? If so, include chlorella in your diet! This superfood helps flush out toxins and heavy metals from your system, regulates blood pressure, and supports fat loss. It’s also an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Make sure you choose organic chlorella powder, which is free of allergens and chemicals.

What Is Chlorella?

Chlorella is one of the most powerful natural detox aids available today. In Japan, it’s used by over 10 million people. Decades ago, it was seen as a remarkable food source that could solve the world hunger crisis. This green alga is two to 10 μm in diameter, and consists of 45 percent protein, 20 percent carbs, and 20 percent fat. Fiber, vitamins, and minerals account for the remaining 15 percent. Chlorella is able to reproduce eight times a day, which makes it a sustainable source of nutrients.

This superfood boasts large amounts of chlorophyll and cancer-fighting compounds that benefit your health. One serving (28 ounces) provides:

  • 133% of the RDA of zinc
  • 202% of the RDA of iron
  • 22% of the RDA of phosphorus
  • 287% of the RDA of vitamin A
  • 71% of the RDA of vitamin B2
  • 16 grams of protein
  • 6 grams of carbohydrates
  • 115 calories

Chlorella also contains thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, and amino acids. Its green color comes from chlorophyll. Other names for it are freshwater seaweed, green algae, and Algue Verte d’Eau Douce. This alga grows in fresh water and requires only water, CO2, sunlight, and minerals to reproduce. Nowadays, it is also cultivated in artificial ponds. Chlorella comes in power and capsule form, and can be used as a dietary supplement. You may also add it to smoothies and green juices, make your own body wraps, or mix it with water and other natural ingredients to prepare facial masks.

A growing body of research supports the health of chlorella. This alga is consumed as a food supplement in Asian countries, and as a health supplement in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, Japan is the world’s largest producer of chlorella. Due to its high nutrient density, this superfood fights cancer, boosts immune function, and cleanses your body from the inside out. It’s also the most potent source of chlorophyll on earth.

The Health Benefits of Organic Chlorella Powder

chlorella1The first studies on chlorella date back to the late 1940s. According to health experts, this plant has a protective role against hypertension, heart disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, ulcerative colitis, and impaired immune function. Japanese researchers claim that chlorella regulates blood sugar and lowers body fat levels. It’s particularly beneficial for people struggling with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Considered one of the most nutritious organic superfoods available, chlorella boosts your energy naturally, protects from common cold and flu, and helps prevent chronic conditions. It also restores gut flora by stimulating the growth of good bacteria in the GI tract. Studies conducted in the 80s have found that chlorella improves immune function in cancer patients, which helps speed up healing.

Evidence also shows that organic chlorella powder regulates the genes that control insulin response, which helps prevent and treat metabolic syndrome. Just like spirulina, it purifies your blood and strengthens your body’s natural defense mechanisms. This alga is a complete source of protein, making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It actually contains 55 times more protein than rice and 38 times more than soy. When used as part of a balanced diet, it can help you shed pounds, build muscle, and enhance your athletic performance. Due to its energy-boosting effects, it allows you to work out harder for longer.

Japanese researchers have found that cadmium-poisoning victims who took chlorella eliminated heavy metals seven times faster compared to the placebo group. This superfood may also improve mental health, relieve constipation, and keep your digestive system running smoothly. In clinical studies, it lowered blood pressure in half of cases.

Chlorella is so great for detox because of its ability to bio-accumulate heavy metals to a greater degree than its environment. Rich in chlorophyll, it helps your body get rid of toxins and use oxygen more efficiently. The magnesium in chlorella keeps your brain sharp, wards off depression, and aids in digestion. Due to its high antioxidant levels, this alga scavenges oxidative stress and slows down aging. Inn just a few weeks, you’ll look and feel younger, have more energy, and focus better on your tasks.

Why Use Organic Chlorella Powder?

chlorella2As with any supplement, you should do some research before buying chlorella. Not all brands are created equal. Organ chlorella powder has no synthetic ingredients and delivers a pure whole food formula that’s easily absorbed into your system. Conventional chlorella supplements may contain traces of gluten, dairy, nuts, and other allergens used in manufacturing facilities. Some products also have added sugar, artificial dyes, sweeteners, and preservatives. A study conducted in 2015 has found that 14 out of 39 samples of chlorella and spirulina contained neurotoxin.

Organic chlorella powder is extensively tested for quality and purity. It contains no binders, additives, preservatives, or fillers. The safety tests are conducted by third party labs, so you can trust the results. Additionally, organic chlorella is 100 percent vegan, soy free, and non-GMO. It’s a perfect choice for those following a raw food or vegetarian diet. To reap its benefits, add one teaspoon (2-3 grams) to your favorite shakes, smoothies, or juices, or use it in recipes. Chlorella powder goes well in salad dressings, nut butters, tahini, and homemade desserts. It doesn’t affect food flavor and can be used on a daily basis.

This superfood should be a staple in your diet. Its healing properties are backed up by science. Regular consumption promotes healthy weight loss, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, and assists in detoxifying your body. Chlorella also protects your cells from radiation and free radical damage, removes radioactive particles from your system, and increases lifespan. High in phytonutrients, it balances your hormone levels and enhances the action of T cells, which play a key role in cancer prevention. In the long run, chlorella can improve your quality of life and guard against diseases.


Spirulina, Chlorella Side Effects May Put You In Wheelchair?

Ready for a Healthy Boost? Give Baobab a Try!

What is Baobab?

baobab1Baobab is an organic and 100% natural superfruit that comes from Africa. It has the remarkable property of drying right on the branch, so it’s easy to process into a nutritious powder supplement. Also, baobab is used for a variety of health and beauty applications. It’s a rich source of vitamin C, which in turn may help the immune system and assist in the critical process of energy release. Baobab is nearly 50% fibre and contains more antioxidants than any other whole fruit. Here are a few more reasons to add baobab to your healthy lifestyle.

Baobab is an All-Natural Supplement

baobab2Some people don’t like dosing themselves with vitamins in manufactured pills. If you’re one of them, then know that baobab is a natural source of vitamins and nutrients, which means that they’re easier to absorb. Wondering how it tastes? Then know that baobab is delicious. It has a citrus flavour and tastes sweet, so you’re certain to like the way it tastes.

Baobab is a RIch Source of Vitamin C

baobab4Did you know that the human body cannot make vitamin C? That makes it important to get the requisite amount from our diet. A serving of baobab powder (2 to 3 teaspoons) contains about 33% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Adequate vitamin C intake is essential for collagen formation. In turn, collagen supports healthy bones, blood vessels, teeth, gums and skin. Vitamin C helps the body release energy and reduces fatigue and tiredness. It’s also necessary for the correct functioning of the nervous system. Proponents of baobab tell us that it’s a critical component for healthy psychological function. Further, baobab works to protect cells from oxidative stress.

Baobab Contains Healthy Levels of Essential Fibre

baobab5Very few people in the UK have an adequate intake of fibre. An easy way to add fibre to your diet is to use baobab, because it’s nearly 50% fibre. Your body needs two distinct types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is important because research indicates that it helps to curtail the release of sugar in the blood stream. The result? Fewer jittery energy spikes. In addition, fibre benefits the digestive system, including bowel regularity. If you’re watching your weight or trying to lose weight, this superfood is considered effective for helping you feel fuller longer.

Baobab is Packed with Antioxidants

baobab6Research has shown that baobab has an antioxidant content higher than any fruit. Baobab powder contains twice the antioxidants of goji berries, when compared gram per gram. Even fresh fruits like pomegranates and blueberries have fewer antioxidants, even when taken together. Baobab powder has twice the antioxidants gram per gram of goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined. Besides the benefits mentioned earlier, antioxidants are important because they work to counteract the harm caused by free radicals, which are molecules that damage the skin’s collagen. This can result in premature ageing, fine lines, wrinkles and dryness. Baobab supports collagen formation, which in turn can give the skin a radiant glow.

More Baobab Benefits

baobab3Baobab is considered effective in protecting the body from major illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Research indicates that is also can help with conditions that are inflammation-related. Such diseases include allergies and arthritis. Another report cites the fact that baobab fruit contains significant levels of key minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. Potassium is an important component of baobab and is known to have heart health benefits. It works as a vasodilator to reduce strain and increase blood flow, keeping the heart from working too hard. Lowering the blood pressure in this way is considered effective for fighting cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks and atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits known as plaque form on the inner lining of the arteries. Finally, the magnesium and calcium found in baobab are key minerals for maintaining healthy bones.

An Easy Baobab Recipe

2 teaspoons baobab superfruit powder
1 teaspoon organic honey
¾ cup purified or spring water
Squeeze of fresh lemon

Mix together, making sure sure honey is mixed throughout. Take this along with your morning smoothie to get the benefits of baobab in an easy and delicious way.

With so much to recommend it, isn’t it worth adding this remarkable superfood to your health regimen?

Discover the Many Health Benefits of Acai Berries

If you’re interested in improving your health, there are many actions you can take. One of the most important is the impact – good or bad – of diet on your body. Eating a healthy diet rich in superfoods can do nothing but support you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Read on to learn about a key superfood: acai.

What is Acai?

This remarkable berry comes from the Amazon rain forest where it’s been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s also thought to boost energy and stimulate the immune system. Acai is considered effective for fighting conditions associated with oxidation, the action of substances known as free radicals. According to WebMD, experts think that free radicals’ activities in the body play a major role in the development of diseases and conditions like cancer and atherosclerosis, a disease in which deposits of fatty plaque form on the walls of the arteries.

Acai and Free Radicals

Exposure to free radicals that cause oxidative damage in the body comes from the action of natural processes like digestion and utilisation of sugars for energy. Free radicals also can form when the body processes specific types of food, such as sugar. You also are exposed to free radicals created by pollution. Acai is rich in antioxidants that assist in the body’s battle against harmful free radicals. Acai has two times the antioxidants as blueberries and a remarkable ten times the amount as grapes.

Acai and the Heart

You may have read that red wine has heart-healthy benefits. Well, acai functions in similar ways. Acai berries are rich in anthocyanins, a type of plant-based substances that are thought to have the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, acai contains high levels of plant sterols, substances that help to protect the heart and assist in preventing life-threatening blood clots.

Acai and Weight Loss


A scientific study of acai demonstrated that acai berry pulp can help you maintain a healthy weight and even lose weight. The study also showed that acai is able to reduce the adverse effects of a high-fat diet, since it did so when given to flies in a laboratory setting.

Acai and Skin Health

A current trend in the cosmetic industry involves using acai in skin care products because of its antioxidant properties. Also, if you’re looking for beauty products that don’t contain harmful chemicals that may harm the skin in the long run, all-natural acai-based skin products are worth considering. Further, when acai is taken internally, it can help to give the skin an attractive, healthy glow. For proof, see the beautiful skin of Brazilians, who have been eating acai berries for generations.

Acai and the Immune System

One of the major benefits of acai accrues to the immune system. Acai is high in ellagic acid and vitamin C. Research has suggested that ellagic acid may have the ability to fight cancer by suppressing its growth. This may be due to the polyphenolic compounds and phytochemicals acai contains. These compounds are thought to affect the growth of cancer at the cellular level.

Acai and Digestion

Have digestive problems? Taking acai may be effective in helping to reduce them. Acai functions in the digestive system to detoxify the body. In addition, it’s a powerful source of fibre, a substance known to have significant benefits for the body. Perhaps another major benefit involves keeping the bowels and colon healthy. This, in turn, is considered effective for preventing constipation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and hemorrhoids. Taking acai is good for the digestive system. It aids in keeping the function of this system in optimal condition. Because of acai’s powerful ability to detox the body, it keeps the digestive system clean.

Acai and Energy Levels

Another benefit of acai is that it can help with increasing the body’s energy levels and stamina. When you find yourself feeling exhausted and fatigued, try eating a handful of these amazing berries to boost your stamina and energy level

Acai and Sexual Function

Acai can increase and benefit blood circulation. Because of this it’s thought that acai offers specific benefits such as an increased sex drive, particularly for men.

Acai and Menopause

Studies have suggested that acai can help to prevent mental imbalance in menopausal women.

With so much to recommend it, isn’t it worth adding acai to your healthy diet?


Ready for a Nutritional Boost? Try Lucuma

In a world that’s all too full of artificial, over-processed and of non-nutritious food choices, it’s sometimes difficult to find sources of sustenance that are both beneficial and easy to take. One such source is lucuma. Read on the learn more.

What is Lucuma?

Generally taken as a powder, lucuma fruit comes from a subtropical tree that’s native to Ecuador, Peru and Chile. These trees thrive in cool weather and are highly drought-resistant. Growing 25 to 50 feet tall, lucuma trees yield a yellow-green, egg-shaped fruit that’s known to indigenous peoples as “Gold of the Incas.” The yellow-orange flesh is starchy and somewhat dry. The taste is described as pumpkin-like with caramel and maple overtones. Lucuma fruit usually is dehydrated to produce a powder which is then added to foods or taken mixed with a liquid.

Getting Started with Lucuma

Interested in taking lucuma? Here are some facts and benefits you should know. The powdered has many healthy benefits. Its sweet taste makes it highly palatable. Lucuma is also gluten-free and an excellent source of anti-oxidants. It contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fibre. This makes taking lucuma a good way to support vital body functions and a healthy immune system. Although lucuma isn’t widely known outside of South America, people all over the world are beginning to take note of it as a natural substitute for sugar. In addition, lucuma is thought to have skin-boosting, antifungal, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.


Lucuma’s Remarkable Nutrition

Although many people supplement their diets with vitamin and mineral tablets or capsules, such sources often lack what are called “trace elements.” Lucuma contains 14 essential trace elements including phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. Each 100 grams of lucuma contain 329 calories, 2.4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of fibre and 87 grams of carbohydrates. Calcium content is measured at 92 milligrams per 100 grams and is important for keeping teeth and bones strong. Phosphorus helps with protein, bone formation, hormone balance and digestions. Lucuma provides 186 milligrams per 100 grams. Lucuma is considered to be a good source of the key nutrient iron, which may assist in improving physical endurance and stimulating the immune system. Lucuma is easy to take, as well. Just mix a tablespoon of the powder into a smoothie. You also can use it to make vegan ice cream.

More Reasons to Take Lucuma

Research has shown that lucuma promotes tissue regeneration and helps with wound healing. An importance source of beta-carotine that’s essential for skin elasticity and eye health, lucuma also is rich in vitamin B3 (niacin) which is a key factor in the body’s energy producing process.

An Important Research Study on Lucuma

Rutgers University in the US conducted a study that looked at the anti-inflammatory property of lucuma extract as it affects skin ageing and wound healing. The study concluded that lucuma significantly increases wound closure and promotes tissue regeneration. A report based on the study tells us that lucuma has important benefits for the skin, including anti-ageing. In fact, Rutgers applied for a patent in the US for lucuma extracts, especially the oil.

Essential Properties and Usage of Lucuma

We like the sweet taste and enticing fragrance of lucuma because it’s a natural sweetener that doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Because lucuma is a healthy alternative to sugar, it may be useful for diabetics. Besides using it in smoothies, lucuma fruit powder can be added to pastries, puddings, granola and yogurt. Lucuma has the ability to emulsify and combine oils and fats with sugars. This means you can use lucuma in baking pies, cookies and cakes, which assists in fortifying the nutritional content of desserts. Finally, lucuma makes a great addition to foods for babies and children without adding a high calorie count. Just be sure to check with a doctor before using lucuma for both children and adults. Then, try this easy recipe from

Mango and Lucuma Smoothie

1½ cups fresh or frozen mango, cubed (about 1 medium mango)
¾ cup vanilla almond milk
1 medjool date
1 tablespoon lucuma powder
Dash of cinnamon
A few ice cubes (if using fresh mango)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.


Chocoholic? Discover the Many Benefits of Cacao

It’s a well-known fact that millions of people enjoy eating chocolate-based foods and treats. Before you think that this is an unhealthy habit, read on to learn about cacao, a superfood with numerous benefits.

Cacao is a Well-Known Mood Enhancer and Aphrodisiac

Did you know that cacao contains a mood enhancer called anandamide? Known as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide can create a feeling of euphoria when consumed that can override a bad mood or negative feelings. In addition, cacao contains another mood-enhancing substance called phenethylamine, also known as PEA. PEA is considered effective as an endorphin-releasing substance that contain opium-like pleasure releasers that many people experience when they fall in love or engage in sexual activity. Perhaps this is why cacao-based products are so popular on Valentine’s Day.


Cacao-based products popular on Valentine's Day

Cacao Helps to Balance Hormonal Mood Swings and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

While it’s never wise to make medical claims about a food, there is evidence that cacao may help with boosting the level of seratonin, a powerful brain chemical that enhances the level of calming hormones in the brain. This is thought to promote and restore feelings of well-being. Also, women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can benefit from cacao’s seratonin-releasing activity. Another powerful aspect of cacao is that it contains flavanols,  anti-inflammatory and heart-protective substances that are thought to protect against heart disease, improve blood circulation and lower the risk of stroke. In fact, cacao contains more that 700 compounds including polyphenols that may be able to help lower “bad” cholesterol and assist in preventing hardening of the arteries. Cacao also may work to thin the blood and  prevent blood clots. Research indicates that cacao might be just as effective as taking aspirin to forestall heart disease.

Cacao May Prevent Premature Ageing and Can Assist with Weight Loss

It’s well-known that green tea and red wine have strong antioxidant properties. Cacao contains polyphenols, which also are antioxidants. In addition, anthocyanins like those found in dark coloured fruits, along with catechins like those found in green tea work to protect cells from damage or premature oxidation. Also, drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can help to suppress appetite by way of the MAO inhibitors it contains. MAO inhibitors often are found in weight-loss products, and the ones found in cacao allow more seratonin to circulate in the brain. If cacao tastes too strong to you, simply modify it by adding some nut milk, rice or coconut milk to improve the taste. If you heat your cacao beverage gently, it will release a higher level of these important substances. Just add one teaspoon of cacao to a cup of hot milk or hot water and drink it 10 to 15 minute before meals.

Cacao May Help With Energy Levels, Diabetes and Blood Pressure

If you find yourself feeling lethargic and out of energy, magnesium is a solution worth  considering. Did you know that cacao has one of the highest levels of magnesium found in a natural food source? Also, it’s thought to protect the body against osteoporosis. Magnesium is particularly important for type II diabetics. In addition, it’s traditionally considered effective for  those with high blood pressure. A recent study indicates that cacao intake may be effective in reducing blood pressure when a small amount is taken every night.

Cacao’s Remarkable Skin Benefits

Cacao may be considered effective in preventing skin cancer, a British study showed. Just 20 grams a cacao per day may allow you to stay in the sun twice as long a those who do not take this supplement. Cacao improves skin texture and gives the skin a glowing aspect. Further, users often experience improved microcirculation and increased oxygen saturation, both of which may help in improving the skin’s hydration level. Finally, cacao is thought to assist in preventing skin cancer because of its ability to protect against harmful UV rays.




More Important Benefits of Cacao

If you’re concerned about your appearance, know that cacao can benefit the hair and nails, making them strong and smooth. The antioxidant benefits of cacao may be effective in people who needed to reduce their insulin resistance. For those with impaired glucose tolerance, cacao may help to restore a proper balance. It’s also considered effective for smokers and for those who wish to improve their bowel and kidney functions. If you have concerns about your metabolism, cacao is worth considering because it helps to reset the metabolism and restore one’s internal balance. In addition, the importance of antioxidants for the human body cannot be understated. Another recent study reported that cacao reduced the stress hormone cortisol, improved microbial activity in the gut and enhanced the metabolism.

With so many positive aspects and benefits, shouldn’t you consider taking cacao as a supplement?

DIY Beauty: Using Superfoods For Gorgeous Skin

Superfoods For Gorgeous Skin

Although the properties of superfoods are well-known, most uses depend on consuming them, and not in cosmetic preparations. In this article, we’ll focus on how to incorporate superfoods in both your diet and DIY cosmetic preparations that will benefit your skin. There’s no need to rely on commercial products for skin care. In fact, such products might be detrimental to your skin. Read on to learn more.

Superfoods That Benefit the Skin

blueberries Blueberries are a great source of powerful antioxidants that help to protect the skin to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s an unlikely superfood: oysters, a rich source of zinc which expedites cell turnover in the skin. This process assists in the repair and renewal of skin cells. Another excellent superfood to add to your diet is kiwi fruit. This superfood contains plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C. These elements are highly beneficial to the skin, providing firmness and also fighting wrinkles. Grapefruit is another superfruit to consider because it is high in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production in the skin. It’s thought that fresh, red grapefruit is the best choice rather than the white or pink type.

More Superfoods that are Good for the Skin

salmon Wild salmon has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect the skin from potentially damaging UV rays (2). Spinach is another superfood that is high in antioxidants. It also is a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, omega-3s and vitamins B, C and A. Even in small amounts, walnuts are highly beneficial to the skin. They contain omega-3s and vitamin E that fortify cell walls and help to retain moisture. Be sure to enjoy some yogurt, which is a good source of calcium. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an anti-ageing antioxidant. Sweet potatoes are another superfood that’s loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotine.

Additional Superfoods for Healthy, Glowing Skin

Quinoa Quinoa is a grain packed with protein. It also has a high level of riboflavin, a component that helps the elasticity of the skin and boosts the production of connective tissue. In turn, this can help keep the skin toned. Chia seeds also can be great for the skin because they’re loaded with vitamins like A, B, E and D. They also contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, molybdenum, potassium, silicon, thiamine, sodium, sulfur, and zinc. Finally, kale can help detox the skin, purify pores and protect against environmental damage.

Superfoods Cosmetic Preparations for Healthy, Glowing Skin

Before you pay an outrageous price for over-the-counter cosmetics that are loaded with chemicals and additives, why not consider making your own pure superfood-based creams and lotions? Read on for some easy recipes.

Green Tea Mask

  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel (check the Internet for sources)
  • ¼ cup of green tea steeped ten minutes
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay or ground oatmeal
  • 4-6 drops of essential oils (rosemary, thyme, lavender, and lemon)

Mix all the above-mentioned ingredients in a blender until you get a smooth mixture. A cotton ball or clean fingers will both do when applying it to the face. Finally rinse this off with warm water after leaving it on for 20-30 minutes

Is your skin stressed by environmental pollutants? Try this soothing mask.

Mask for Dry Skin

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • ½ small cucumber peeled
  • 1 tablespoon of goji berries soaked 1-2 hours in ¼ cup water


Put the ingredients in a blender or any food processor and blend them until smooth. Apply the mixture with fingers or cotton pads. After 20-30 minutes, gently rinse the mask off with warm water .

Here’s a great way to detox your skin.

Honey Beeswax Lip Balm

  • 1 tablespoon beeswax, grated or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons organic cacao butter, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed hemp oil

Melt the beeswax, cacao butter and coconut oil on low heat in a double boiler while stirring frequently. Add the honey next along with the hemp oil and the other ingredients. Once the honey is mostly dissolved, turn off the heat and stir well until it reaches a smooth consistency. Transfer to clean containers immediately before the mixture cools. Let the lip balm set for about an hour before using. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and use within six months.

Oatmeal Honey Mask

  • ¼ cup of oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • ¼ – ½ cup of warm rooibos tea (check the Internet for sources)
  • 4-6 drops of essential oils (rose, frankincense, lavender, or geranium)

For this mask, you will first have to grind oatmeal in a coffee or spice grinder until you get a coarse-flour like mixture. Then, just stir in the honey very slowly, adding the tea to get the consistency of a smooth paste. After adding the essential oils just mix everything well. When applying this mixture to the face you can either use a cotton ball or your clean fingers. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes until dry and then rinse the mask off with lukewarm water (7).

If your skin seems hopelessly dry and flaky, this make can help restore its natural moisture balance.

Clay Face Mask

  •  2 tablespoons zeolite clay (check the Internet for sources)
  • A few pinches of cinnamon
  • A few drops of tea tree oil


Mix ingredients in a small jar and add water a few drops at a time until you reach a thick consistency that holds together. If you accidentally add too much water, put in an additional tablespoon of clay until mixture thickens. Spread generously on your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and wait for the clay to dry (it will turn a lighter color and begin to flake off). Rinse with warm water, and then moisturize with coconut, argan or jojoba oil.

In addition to these easy cosmetics, there are a few ingredients you should have on hand, such as coconut oil. Although mainly used in the kitchen, coconut oil is a potent moisturizer. This is so because coconut oil has the same acidity level as our skin. Another ingredient to have on hand is versatile green tea, which is packed with antioxidants that attack free radicals to help prevent premature aging. Green tea also can help with skin disorders such as  acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Finally, essential oils should be part of anyone’s natural beauty regimen. These are natural extracts from herbs, plants and flowers that add a wonderful addition to any cosmetic formulation because they can purify the skin. Good oil choices include tea tree, lemon, orange and peppermint.

Focus on Fruit: A Few Delicious Superfoods

A Few Delicious Superfoods

When one thinks about superfoods, it’s typical that vegetables come to mind. Although vegetables do make up a large proportion of the superfoods category, there’s no reason not to include a reasonable amount of delicious fruit in your diet. From a delicious slice of apple pie to a brimming bowl of mixed fruit, it’s a good idea to eat some fruit every day.

Grapefruit: A Versatile Superfruit

grapes-frozen-fruit-summer-organic-115007-largeGrapefruit is a citrus fruit that grows widely around the world. It’s botanical name is citrus paradisi. Grapefruit actually is a hybrid of sweet orange with pomelo. Pomelo is a natural (non-hybrid) citrus fruit, with the appearance of a big grapefruit, that’s native to South and Southeast Asia.

Grapefruit flesh is acidic and naturally segmented; the color varies from white to pink to red, with the redder types generally being sweeter.

Here’s a unique and tasty recipe for grapefruit.

Broiled Grapefruit

  • 2 large pink or ruby-red grapefruits
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 8 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce, about 2 to 3 hearts
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup sliced radishes, about 8 radishes

With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from grapefruits and discard. Working over a bowl, cut the grapefruit segments from the surrounding membranes, letting them, along with the juice, drop into the bowl. After the segments have been removed, squeeze the remaining membrane to extract more juice. Reserve the segments and the juice separately.

Preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil.

Toss the chicken, dry mustard, garlic powder, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, pepper and salt in a large bowl until the chicken is well coated. Place on the prepared pan in a single layer.

Broil the chicken until cooked through, turning once.

Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and hot sauce into the reserved grapefruit juice until smooth. Add the cooked chicken and romaine; toss to combine. Serve the salad topped with radishes and the reserved grapefruit segments

Blueberries: A Delicious Superfruit

pexels-photo-62330-large In the US, blueberry consumption ranks second only to the strawberry. Popularity aside, blueberries rank high in antioxidant when compared to other fruits, vegetables, spices and seasoning. Blueberries are native to North America and have been used by native Americans for hundreds of years. They’re also widely used in other cultures from the Mediterranean to Asia. Here’s an unexpectedly novel blueberry recipe.

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry syrup:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  • 6 cups sugar
  • 24 lemons, juiced

For the blueberry syrup: Put the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer until thick, 20 to 25 minutes.

Strain the blueberries through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing to get all the liquid out, then place the liquid in the fridge and chill until cold (or place the pan in a bowl of ice to chill down fast).

For the lemonade: Mix the sugar with 6 cups of tap water and stir until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.

Pour the lemon juice into a large container. Pour in three-quarters of the simple syrup and 8 cups of water. Add the blueberry syrup, stir it around and then give it a taste. Add more simple syrup if it needs sweetness, or more water if it needs dilution. Top up with lots of ice before serving

Pineapple: Exotic and Available

more-wood-curtains-wood-pineapple-73037Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that you can find just about anywhere. It has a distinct appearance thanks to spike-like foliage that sits on top of the fruit as a sort of crown.

The fruit is sweet and golden in color. They are the only known source of bromelain, an enzyme that has antioxidant properties. Pineapples should be refrigerated for up to 4 days. If the fruit has been cut, place it into an airtight covered container.

Here’s a great recipe for pineapple.

Grilled Pineapple

  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1⁄2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut

Prepare pineapple by coring, and then removing the top and the skin. Cut pineapple crosswise into six 3/4-inch-thick slices, remove the core. Stir together melted butter, brown sugar and curry powder. Grill pineapple slices on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 6 to 8 minutes or till heated through, turning once and brushing once or twice with butter mixture. Combine yogurt and coconut. To serve, cut pineapple slices in half. Serve warm with yogurt

Bananas: Humble Yet Versatile

food-restaurant-fruits-orangeBananas are a popular fruit that’s easy to store and consume, thanks to it’s thick, protective skin. It’s even thought that bananas may have been the first fruit in the world. Bananas are grown in over 100 countries. The banana has been cultivated and used since ancient times, even pre-dating the cultivation of rice. While the banana thrives in Africa, its origins are said to be East Asia and Oceania. Americans eat more bananas than oranges and apples combined.

Why not try some yummy bananas Foster? A great recipe follows.

Bananas Foster

  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar. Stir together and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the cream and stir it around to combine. Peel the bananas and slice them on the bias inside the peel. Drop the slices into the pan. Next, add the chopped nuts and stir them into the sauce. Then gently stir in the rum. Let it start to bubble, and then carefully use a long lighter to ignite it. (Be sure to have a lid handy in case you need to extinguish the flame.) Let the fire burn and go out, about 30 seconds or so), and then stir in the cinnamon at the end. You may also cook the mixture without flambeing it. Spoon it over a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream and enjoy immediately

Both bananas and plantains are low in fat and a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid. The pulp and peel of the ripe banana have anti-microbial properties against certain types of bacteria and some say that the inside of the peel is also good for treating mild cases of sunburn. The sugars in ripe bananas provide a quick source of energy.

Regardless of what superfruit you choose, try to consume it daily. That’s the best way to reap the all the benefits of these delicious, yet widely available fruits.

A Blast from the Past: The Many Benefits of Maca Powder for Good Health

The Top 10 Uses for this Remarkable Plant

Maca is an ancient plant that has been cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Peru in South America for thousands of years. It has an amazing array of heath benefits for young and old alike. This article lists just 10 of the most important benefits of maca

All about Maca – What You Need to Know

Like many people, you may find yourself craving tea or coffee when you’re feeling listless or devoid of energy. Why not forego that caffeine boost in favour of a more natural solution? Maca is the perfect alternative! This all-natural tuber provides an amazing boost of energy just when you need it most, and in a way that does not depend on caffeine stimulus. Your body is supported safely and naturally. Maca is a super food that is nutritionally dense. That means it contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and enzymes.

Maca Helps Balance the Body’s Key Hormones

Many people suffer from hormonal imbalances without even knowing it. Maca root can help to balance hormones that are out of sync due to any number of environmental factors. Rather than supplement with synthetic hormones, why not consider a more natural solution? Maca is the perfect candidate for boosting the body’s essential hormones and glands, including the hypothalamus and pituitary. These glands function as regulatory mechanisms for secondary glands such as the pancreas, thyroid and adrenal.

Maca is an Adaptogen

One of maca’s key properties is its role as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance that affects the body in a variable way. For example, if your body is producing an overly high amount of a certain hormone, maca will adapt that production downward. Conversely, if production is low, maca will regulate production upward. This can have a beneficial effect on growth, mood, tissue function and sexual development. Maca also may be able to help with diseases such as depression or even cancer.

Maca is Easy to Prepare and Consume as a Food Supplement

Unlike many artificially based food supplements, maca is truly a nutritious food that’s easy to prepare and consume. It has a pleasant, nutty and light flavour that blends seamlessly into many recipes. Just a teaspoon of maca stirred into a hearty but bland soup along with a bit of sea salt will enhance the flavour substantially. Another great way to use maca is to add it to herb-based teas. Sprinkle maca over just-popped popcorn or combine it with maple syrup for a flavour boost that’s nutritious and flavourful. Maca can also be taken in tablet or capsule form.

Maca has Few Known Adverse Effects

Maca is a staple food in South America and has no known serious side effects or toxicities. Be aware, though, that you may experience some minor symptoms when you first start taking maca. Such symptoms may be related to maca’s detoxification properties. Many people are used to consuming cooked and processed foods that contain low levels of many beneficial nutrients. When one begins to take nutrient-rich maca, the body starts to rid itself of unneeded substances. During this time, you may experience some minor discomfort. Be assured that such symptoms will recede after a few days.

Clinical Trials and Recommended Maca Dosage

The recommended dosage of maca can vary. It’s best to start with a small dose, such as 1/2 teaspoon per day and increase gradually over several weeks to 1 or 2 teaspoons per day. Some sources specify 500 to 1000 mg three times daily. Maca has attracted the attention of the scientific community, and there have been two published studies. In the first, maca dosages of 1500 and 3000 mg, were reported not to increase male libido, debunking a commonly-held myth about maca. Because the second study did not use a control group, its findings are regarded as essentially meaningless.

Maca Has Specific Benefits for Women

Maca can help restore the hormonal imbalance caused by menopause. It’s especially useful in reducing the fatigue associated with this imbalance. Many women report that the worst symptom they experience is troublesome hot flashes. Used over time, maca may ease some of these symptoms and re-balance key hormones naturally. Many women prefer this natural solution over the use of synthetic hormones such as oestrogen that are typically seen as recommended treatments. In addition, maca is useful in treating menstrual symptoms, such as cramping or heavy or irregular periods. It also helps with the troublesome symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

Cosmetic Use of Maca

Maca is becoming a key ingredient in cosmetic formulas and toiletries. Recent research has shown that maca both softens and nourishes the skin. In addition, maca stimulates the growth of fibroblast cells in the skin. These cells excrete a substance that supports collagen production. Collagen is an essential component of healthy and young-looking skin. It’s thought that maca also increases collagen production, resulting in improved integrity of the skin’s structure. For the hair, maca-infused products fight hair loss and help to maintain thick, healthy hair.

Who Should Not Use Maca?

Although maca has many beneficial properties, it’s wise to check with your doctor before beginning a maca regimen. If you get the go-ahead, try taking it first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon to take advantage of maca’s energy-boosting properties. Don’t exceed the recommended dosage, and don’t take maca if you have thyroid disease, because it’s high in iodine and glucosinolate. If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or breast cancer, maca is probably not a good choice for you, unless prescribed by a physician.

Maca and the Immune System

Adding maca to your diet, even in small amounts, can have significant benefits for the immune system. This is because maca is very high in protein and functions to strengthen the immune system. Also, it contains five time more protein the potatoes. This extra protein can boost the immune system, along with your energy levels.

Maca, Sexual Dysfunction and SSRIs

There was a scientific study in 2008 that found that it’s possible maca may help relieve the sexual dysfunction caused by the use of selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are a class of medications that are used in the treatment of depression. The results found that those with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction may experience improved libido while taking maca.

With so much to recommend it, why not consider adding maca to your health regimen?

Discover Cacao: An Amazing Superfood

Delicious Superfood

Who would have thought that cacao, the source of chocolate, would have so many health and wellness benefits? The fact is that it does! Before we explore those benefits, though, let’s learn about this versatile and delicious superfood and how to use it in some delicious recipes.

What is Cacao?

Cacao is the unprocessed, uncooked form of chocolate that comes in the form of seeds that are widely referred to as beans.

The beans grow on a tree that is native to Mexico and central and south America. The name of the tree, Theobrama, translates as “cacao, the food of the gods” in Greek. The small tree bears pods, each of which can contain up to 60 cacao seeds. These seeds are meticulously fermented and then dried for up to two weeks. Finally, the raw seeds are roasted using high heat, after which they may be combined with fats and sugars to make the cocoa powder that’s used to make the familiar chocolate drink that almost anyone would enjoy. Remember, though, that unprocessed cacao beans also can be consumed raw (1).

More about Cacao...

The fermenting and roasting process brings out the flavors in cacao.

People say that they find notes of coffee and berries in the taste of high-quality cocoa, and this translates to a complex and delicious flavor of this superfood. To use raw cocoa, it’s a simple matter to add it to drinks like smoothies. Remember that raw cocoa has a stronger taste, so it’s wise to combine it with other foods to tone down the flavor. Milk chocolate is a good choice for drinks, until you become used to the flavor. Another strategy is to consume cocoa nibs, which are whole beans that have been peeled and chopped. They’re similar to chocolate chips and can be used in many recipes.

Cacao Smoothie

Recipe and benefits…
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (almond, coconut, etc)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder (try cacao nibs for extra texture)

Place the nut milk, ice, banana, raw honey and cacao in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and all of the ingredients are combined.

So, with a delicious cacao smoothie in hand, you’re ready to begin reaping the many benefits of this versatile superfood. Here are just a few.

Chocolate Chili Truffles

Why not try this delicious recipe?
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder

In a large saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat. Stir in agave, chili, almond extract and coconut milk. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until mixture is about the consistency of a thick frosting. Scoop mixture into balls and set aside on a parchment paper lined plate or baking sheet. Combine the almonds and cacao powder in a shallow bowl. Roll the truffle balls in the almond-cacao mixture. Makes10-12 truffles.

Benefits of Cacao

Cacao is easy to eat, even when you’re having a busy day.

Cacao is nutritionally complex and rich in antioxidants, which means it contains flavonoids that help to prevent damage by free radicals. Cacao also can boost collagen, an important component of healthy skin. Along with some B-vitamins, cacao has both fat, protein and minerals, including iron, zinc, copper, calcium, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium. Cacao contains chemicals that  can help you feel alert and focused by increasing your pulse rate. Such chemicals also help to increase mood and decrease depression. If you need to lose weight, consider using cacao as an aid. It contains compounds that can help to decrease appetite. In addition, this remarkable superfood has blood-thinning and anti-tumor properties.

Other Benefits of Cacao

Cacao is a rich source of minerals

As previously mentioned, cacao is a rich source of minerals. Here are a few details. All that’s needed is a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to get up to 9 percent of one’s daily recommended intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Iron is needed by the biological process that makes red blood cells. Manganese helps with maintaining a normal heart rhythm and producing energy. Zinc is essential for the body processes that develop new cells, including cells in the immune system. A deficiency of zinc reduces the number of cells that fight bacteria, leaving you at risk for a variety of ailments and illnesses. With all these benefits to recommend it, why not try your hand at making homemade chocolate?

Homemade Chocolate

Try your hands…
  • 1 cup cocoa butter, a fatty substance obtained from cacao seeds
  • 1 cup organic Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup raw honey or to taste. Using half this amount or less will make a bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract or other flavors to taste
  • Toasted chopped almonds, orange or mint extract, etc., optional

Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or a glass bowl on top of a small pan with an inch of water (make sure water isn’t touching bowl) over medium heat. When cocoa butter is completely melted, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, honey, vanilla and other flavor extracts. If using a solid raw honey melt with the cocoa butter.

Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated and smooth. Don’t let water or liquid get into the chocolate because it can cause the texture to get mealy. Be careful  with wet hands or even a drop of water in the mold. Pour the chocolate into molds or onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a glass pan to harden. Let harden for several hours at room temperature and carefully remove from the molds. You can also refrigerate to harden it more quickly. Will store for over a week at room temperature or can be kept refrigerated for longer

Chocolate Almond Bars

  • 1 cup cocoa butter, a fatty substance obtained from cacao seeds
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup (amount depending on preferred sweetness)
  • 1 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or in a glass mixing bowl set over a small saucepan with 1 inch of water over medium heat. Alternatively, melt in the microwave in a mixing bowl until completely liquid.

Once melted, remove from heat and add maple syrup and whisk to combine. When the mixture is completely fluid with no separation, add cacao or cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine.

Taste and adjust sweetness if needed. Pour the chocolate into candy molds or mini paper cupcake liners. Or simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chocolate on top. Top with roasted almonds and sprinkle of salt.

Set in the refrigerator or freezer to harden for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once completely solid, break or cut into pieces/bars. These can be kept at room temperature for serving. But for best freshness, store chocolate in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, or the freezer for 1-2 months.

With so much to recommend it for a healthy diet, cacao makes a great addition.