Salted raw cacao lime beauty bites
Mmmm do I love salted chocolate. And salted lime. The flavours just go so nicely together. These raw cacao beauty bites are portable chocolate snacks that taste awesome and can satisfy your cravings between meals. I love one or two with a cup of tea of coffee.
Massive fact: Raw cacao ingestion can reduce both cardiovascular and all-cause death by a whopping 50%
The Dutch Zutphen Study showed that cocoa intake was inversely related to blood pressure, and associated with a massive reduction of both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. After adjustment for age, body mass index, lifestyle factors, drug use, food, and caloric intake, men with the highest cocoa intake reduced their risk of death by 50%. That’s incredible. I have never come across a drug that comes even close to doing this, but eating raw cacao can slash your chance of dying in half. So let’s eat some of this wonderful stuff! You with me?
Raw chocolate has 4 times the benefits of typical processed dark chocolate
Unlike processed dark chocolate, the antioxidants in raw cacao are preserved by avoiding heat-based processing. Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and almost 4 times the antioxidant power of typical dark chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn’t even come close. Studies show that the heat processing alongside the addition of sugar and dairy in milk chocolate reduce the health benefits significantly.
Antioxidants in raw cacao are incredibly important because they help the body’s cells to resist damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unavoidable. We create them as byproducts of normal bodily processes like breathing, and then we also create them via exposure to pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, cosmetic products and the chemicals we ingest from our food (like herbicides). What we need to do is neutralize these free radicals. Healthy foods can do this for us.
Healthy foods like cacao allow us to neutralize free radicals before they damage us
When we eat antioxidant rich foods what we are doing is mopping up the free radicals in our bodies and protecting ourselves from accelerated aging and disease. One of the key things that someone like myself, with Familial Hypercholesterolemia, has to be concerned with is not allowing free radicals to oxidise the extraordinarily high number of cholesterol particles that naturally circulate in our bloodstream (that is a hallmark of this condition).
The great news for anyone with high cholesterol is that the cholesterol itself is not really doing anything harmfull. Cholesterol itself does many positive and necessary things in our bodies. It’s the oxidation of the cholesterol by free radicals that can cause the LDL or low-density lipoprotein in our blood (also known as “bad” cholesterol), to form plaque on our artery walls. So here is where high antioxidant foods like raw cacao (and green leafy vegetables) can provide an invaluable service in protecting our bodies from damage.
Raw cacao is a powerhouse full of antioxidants and other benefits that impact the heart and cardiovascular system
Recent research demonstrates a beneficial effect of cocoa on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and vascular and platelet function. The polyphenolic substances derived from cocoa powder seems to contribute to a reduction in LDL cholesterol, an elevation in HDL cholesterol, and the suppression of oxidized LDL cholesterol. The antioxidants in dark chocolate particularly have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in both reversing heart disease and also naturally lowering blood pressure. The flavanols in dark chocolate additionally seem to improve blood flow to the brain and heart while making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
Studies looking at overweight adults who ingest cocoa saw immediate improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure. The sugar content in the cacao seems to reduce the effects with sugar-free cocoa preparations augmenting them.
Cacao is also the highest whole food source of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is a very common problem, with magnesium being one of the most deficient minerals in our modern diets. Magnesium is a key nutrient for health and disease prevention. It aids with energy creation, digestion, heart function, blood sugar regulation and brain function.
Walnuts and mixed seeds provide omega threes and skin saviour nutrients
If you have read anything about heart health you will likely have run into walnuts. Among nuts, the case may be made that walnuts are king, as research shows they may boost your health in a number of ways. The “dose” of walnuts necessary to achieve health benefits are quite small. One-quarter cup of walnuts (which you’ll get from eating just over 2 of these beauty bites) provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as zinc and a form of antioxidant known as carotenoids. Phytosterols are also present in pumpkin seeds. These plant components aid in keeping stable levels of cholesterol and enhanced immune response.
Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, B1 and phosphorus. They possess important cholesterol-fighting fibers known as lignans and they can lower blood pressure, as well as protect the liver from damage.
Sunflower seeds are also extremely rich in folate, a very important nutrient for women. They are packed full of good fats, antioxidant-rich Vitamin E, selenium and copper, all crucial elements in supporting heart health.
Lime zest and chili powder to spice and heal
Not all ingredients in a recipe always have healing qualities but in this case even the spices are great for you. Both lime zest and chili powder are heart friendly.
Lime zest may contribute to lower risks of heart disease. A study published in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” found that the PMF compounds in citrus peels have the potential to lower cholesterol when included in your diet. Other studies have noted the cancer fighting power of citrus zest.
Red chili peppers, such as cayenne or chili powders, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cultures where hot peppers are used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism. Spicing your meals with chili peppers may protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals. In studies looking at chili-containing diets, the rate of oxidation (free radical damage to cholesterol and triglycerides) was significantly lower in both men and women eating chilli peppers versus those that ate the bland, control diets.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc)
- 1 cup dates (loosely packed, about 6)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 8 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Zest of 1 lime
- ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- ⅛ tsp chili powder
- Add all ingredients in your food processor
- Mix until the nuts have broken down and everything is starting to really stick together. If the mixture is still super crumbly, even when you squeeze it in your hand, then add 1 more Tbsp of coconut oil.
- Use your hands to form small balls (ping pong ball size) and store them on a plate in the fridge for a couple hours to firm up
- Enjoy these healthy snacks – they’re great on the go or for a break with a cup of tea or coffee
Great tasting healthy snacks for long lasting energy
Not only do these taste great but they are packed with raw foods designed to give you energy for hours, reduce unhealthy food cravings, pack your body with antioxidants, and enhance your mood. And as you’ve read above, these are great for lowering cholesterol and enhancing heart health as well.
Healthy snacks are such a key tool for health. As long as I know I’ve got a few of these tucked into my bag, I can relax knowing I’m safe from unhealthy temptation. Also it’s really nice to have an enjoyable treat to look forward to during the day.