Why Are Raw Organic Cacao Beans Far Better Than
by Toshi Umekoji
we hear "good" news. It is true that cacao beans, from which all chocolate is made,
contain very high levels of anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and are very high in
beneficial amino acids. It is also true that dark chocolate is much better than milk
chocolate, since milk protein breaks down some of the most useful chemicals in the

However, this is only the half of the story. Chocolate still contains a high amount of
saturated fat and is very high in calories. Also, if you are not eating organic
chocolate, you may be ingesting tons of pesticides and fungicides, etc. Further, if
they are not organically grown, the cacao beans cannot get enough nutrients and, as
a consequence, the chocolate does not have the high amounts of minerals as it was
advertised. Even if the cacao beans contained enough anti-oxidants and helpful
amino acids when they were harvested, it is likely that they got broken down when
they were heated up in the process of manufacturing the chocolate. Oh, well; that
old adage of "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is" applies here, too.

However, there is still a way to get all the health benefits of cacao: eat raw organic
cacao beans! You can find them at almost any health food store. They look like
almonds, but if you peel off the skins, you will see the dark, "chocolate"-color bean
inside. People actually eat them raw, just like this, and enjoy the taste. I would say
that it is more of an acquired taste, but it is addictive since it can really give you a
natural high (remember cacao beans contain a high amount of caffeine, too). If you
do not want to eat the skins and you do not want to have to peel the beans, you
can also get cacao nibs, which are just the same as the raw bean, but with skin
removed and the bean broken into smaller pieces.

Although cacao beans and cacao nibs have that great chocolate flavor, you should
think of them as a slightly different sort of food. When we think of chocolate, we
always associate it with a smooth and silky texture. Unfortunately, cacao beans and
cacao nibs do not give you that silky-smooth satisfaction -- they remain in your
mouth as bitter grit-like pieces. What a cacao bean lover can do is to chew one bean
for a long time so that it gets smoother. This is actually good since saliva makes the
cacao bean's chemicals much easier to digest in the stomach. And yes, this means
you get more benefit out of the bean.

If you really cannot handle the grainy texture you get from chewing the whole bean,
then you can make a cacao paste using a grinder, and mix it with something---with
hot water to make a chocolate drink, for example. You can also try mixing with
honey to make a ganache (without milk!), or with soy ice cream to make chocolate
ice "cream."

In any case, give the cacao beans a try. You may find that you get the same
satisfaction from one cacao bean as you get from eating an entire chocolate bar!

About The Author

Toshi Umekoji loves chocolate, especially organic dark chocolate truffles. He is
always looking for new organic dark chocolate, and experimenting with new
chocolate recipes made with raw cacao beans. You can find his favorite organic
chocolate truffles at:
These days, dark chocolate is really
popular. It used to be sold only at
specialized chocolate shops or health
food stores, but nowadays, you can
find it at any supermarket or drug
store. This is because recent scientific
research has suggested that dark
chocolate helps prevent heart
problems, cancers, and other possible
illnesses. Since we used to think
eating chocolate was bad for our
health, this is great news!

Well, this is not quite true. We often
remember only the positive details
and ignore the negative things when
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