Why Cacao is the Ultimate Superfood

The virtues of chocolate go beyond sensory pleasure.

Cacao, in its pre-chocolate state. Photo: iStockphoto

Chocolate. We crave it, we savor it, we gift and fight for it. I’m raiding a jar of raw chocolate right this second. I have to pause between bites. My eyes close and I have a big, fat grin on my face. Nothing else really matters. It’s easy to lose yourself in chocolate.

The superfood of all superfoods, cacao — the dried seeds at the root of chocolate — is also one of the highest sources of magnesium in nature, full of antioxidants, calcium, zinc, copper, and selenium. Cacao contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries, goji berries, red wine, raisins, prunes, and even pomegranates. It triggers three neurotransmitters that are associated with elevating mood and mental well being: serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. There’s a holiday created around love and eating chocolate. Maybe they’re onto something.

In moderation, it can work miracles for body, mind, and soul. But over the years, the processing of chocolate has led to many products containing less and less cacao along with chemicals, pesticides, zero nutrients, and lots of dairy and sugar, which can spike insulin levels. So I leave you with a few words of inspiration to make some chocolate for yourself, a lover, or a friend. Play with it; experiment by using different sweeteners, spices, and/or superfoods. Keep a backup stash for those rainy days and continue to share the chocolate love. Source sustainably, try it raw, without added sugars or dairy. Respect cacao and all of its powers and it will bestow much pleasure upon you.

Lady Love Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Besides being quick, rich, delicious, and vegan, this dessert is also gluten-free.


  • 3 small bananas, chopped and frozen ahead of time
  • 1 tablespoon tahini or almond butter
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coconut flakes, for topping
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for topping
  • Optional add-ins: maca, hemp seeds, spirulina, vanilla protein blend, bee pollen, pistachios, tahini


Add frozen chopped bananas to a blender or food processor. Start blending slowly, scraping down the sides of the container, until the banana is mashed. Add the tahini and avocado; blend until incorporated. Sift in the cacao powder, cinnamon, sea salt; add vanilla. Blend until smooth. Top cacao ice cream with the coconut flakes and sesame seeds. Serve immediately or store in the freezer.

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