Chocolate in its raw form is called cocoa and is obtained from the cacao bean of the Theobroma cacao tree. This unprocessed raw cacao is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, which make it an ideal superfood.

In fact, raw cacao has a higher concentration of antioxidants (28,000 per 100 grams) than any other food.

Such a rich supply of antioxidants will benefit your health in numerous ways. Simply add some raw cacao to your diet and reap the following health benefits from it.

1. Prevent The Risk Of Major Diseases
Sun exposure, smoking and pollution cause a buildup of free radicals which damage healthy body tissue.  Such damage can put you at a risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Consuming high amounts of antioxidants neutralizes these free radicals and protects the body tissues from being damaged.

2. Prevent Wrinkles & Other Signs Of Aging
Free radical damage also causes a breakdown of collagen and important skin functions, which results in the aging of skin. Since antioxidants can deflect these harmful free radicals, they in turn help prevent wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and other signs of aging.

3. Antioxidants & Heart Health
The antioxidant flavanols in raw cacao can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and also improve the health of your blood vessels—thus keeping your heart healthy. A study also observed that participants who consumed raw cacao had a lower risk of developing heart disease than those who didn’t.

4. Brain-Boosting Benefits
Another study noted that flavanols in cacao also enhanced brain functions of elderly people with a case of mild cognitive impairment. It acts on the brain structure and function directly by protecting neurons from damage, improving metabolism and their interaction with the molecular structure responsible for memory.

How To Consume Raw Cacao
Raw cacao is sold in the form of nibs or in a powdered form and is easily available at local or online organic food stores. You can mix the powder with your smoothie or just have it with hot water. Since it is in raw form, you might find the taste a bit too tart; so go ahead and add a sugar-free sweetener to improve the flavor.

Read More:

Natural Healing Tips: Cocoa Butter 101

Chocolate and Vanilla Almond Butter Recipes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake