Clockwise from left: Essential Living Foods Cacao Beans, Cacao Nibs, Cacao Butter, Cacao Paste, Cacao Powder.
Theobroma cacao or the "cacao tree" grows in tropical jungle regions around the world but is native to the Americas. Cacao beans – technically nuts – are the seeds of the cacao fruit tree found in the jungle. Chocolate comes from cacao beans which may also be referred to as cacao seeds, cacao nuts, chocolate seeds, chocolate beans, or cacao nibs – all essentially referring to the same thing. All of our cacao products are derived from these cacao beans.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Cornell University and Harvard have recently presented very convincing evidence that chocolate — specifically DARK CHOCOLATE — is one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Some experts consider it to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food.
Research has shown dark chocolate to also be the #1 antioxidant food with approximately twice as many antioxidants as red wine and three times as many as green tea.
Finally, chocolate also contains an abundance of Phenylethylamine (PEA) and Anandamide, two chemicals that can make your brain feel focused and happy.
Cacao beans (raw chocolate) contain more than 300 known chemicals with numerous physiological benefits. Scientists have been working on isolating specific chemicals and their combinations that may explain some of the pleasurable effects of consuming chocolate. Caffeine is the most well known of these chemical ingredients, and while it's present in chocolate, it can only be found in small quantities. Theobromine, a weak stimulant, is also present in slightly higher amounts. Although caffeine and theobromine have relatively weak stimulant effects in cacao, it is possible that in combination, these and other potentially bioactive constituents do influence our liking for chocolate.
The Food of Love
Phenylethylamine (PEA) is the chemical found in the brain of happy people. Fall in love, and your PEA level shoots up. You become peppy and full of optimism. If things go wrong in your life, especially your love life, your PEA level drops and you become listless and tired. Raw Chocolate is loaded with PEA.
The anthocyaninins give rise to the purple color of unfermented beans. Anthocyaninins encourage connective tissue regeneration and are anti-inflammatory. They promote blood flow and reduce cholesterol, in addition to being antioxidants. Anthocyaninins seem to stabilize and protect capillaries from oxidative damage and have been shown to stabilize connective tissue, promote collagen formation, improve microcirculation and help protect blood vessels from oxidative damage.
During fermentation of cacao beans, the anthocyanin is converted to quinonic compounds to give the bean its characteristic brown color. During this process, the bitterness of unfermented beans is reduced. During fermentation the polyphenols undergo a variety of reactions, including self-condensation and reaction with proteins and peptides. Approximately 20% of the polyphenols by weight remain at the end of the fermentation process. Roasting and other cocoa processing activities also cause changes. The level of polyphenols will vary with the variety of cocoa bean and with the degree of fermentation.
Other substances in chocolate that have been discussed as pharmacologically significant include histamine, serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyramine, salsolinol and magnesium.
Essential Living Foods Cacao Products
Organic Raw Cacao Beans
What’s so special about Organic Whole Cacao Beans? Quite simply, this is the most natural and ancient form of chocolate available. Essential Living Foods’ partners in Ecuador must follow a very meticulous, proprietary process to produce such clean, attractive beans.
Here’s just a glimpse of what it entails: First, the large football-shaped pods are removed from Cacao trees and sliced open. The white, sticky beans are then removed and taken to a nearby facility for processing. There the mucilaginous, white outer skin of the fresh whole bean is washed off using a unique process.
Next, it is dried in a unique, very-low-temperature process that preserves the vital nutrients of the bean while also preventing excessive fermentation. The result is a very lightly fermented bean (10% or less)—with the ideal chocolate flavor AND the full spectrum of delicate nutrients. During this process the bean’s highly nutritious polyphenols undergo a variety of reactions that help maximize their potency and bioavailability.
How have we managed to produce such clean, consistent raw cacao beans? From the pictures you can see how clean and attractive Essential Living Foods' beans are.
Look at it like this: Cacao Beans from “other” sources are fermented in large piles in tropical environments, creating either (a) lots of bacteria in the end product and/or (b) very high heat that damages the nutrients in the beans. The temperature inside typical fermentation piles can reach 200 degrees or more—enough to sometimes catch fire. If they can get his hot, surely they can degrade nutrients as well.
But ELF’s cacao beans are unfermented (all of our other cacao products are fermented). This makes our Cacao Beans truly raw, maximally nutritious, and truly unique! Normally cacao beans are quite bitter and acidic before they are fermented, but we are so exacting in our selection process that our beans taste great just the way they are!
Organic Raw Cacao Nibs
What Separates Essential Living Foods' Cacao Nibs from Others in the Marketplace?
The answer lies in our incredible quality control and commitment to excellence. We employ a unique fermentation process, to keeps the temperature below 115 degrees at all times. This makes all our cacao products – and our nibs especially – truly raw and maximally nutritious.
Organic Raw Cacao Paste
Our versatile raw chocolate paste product is made by crushing cacao nibs in a low temperature, “conch” style machine. What results is an incredibly smooth, buttery series of chocolate “chunks.” As strange as they look, these pieces of chocolate are actually the best form of chocolate to use in recipes, home-made truffles and bars, pies and cakes and much more! That’s because they process much smoother and easier than any other form of chocolate. But they still contain much higher antioxidant levels than roasted forms of chocolate. This product is a must for anyone making food products that involve raw chocolate — it is guaranteed to transform even the best recipes.
Why Essential Living Foods' Cacao Paste Offers Something Totally Unique
Over the last few years, Essential Living Foods has been the leader and innovator in bringing Raw Cacao products to the market. Our Cacao Paste is no different. It was the first Raw Cacao Paste available—made possible by using a state-of-the-art process to transform Raw Organic Cacao Nibs into delicious, buttery chunks of pure dark chocolate.
Making Raw Cacao Paste Work for You
Our raw cacao paste is absolutely the perfect product for people that create culinary products. If you own a restaurant, juice bar or café – this product can be added to a wide range of chocolate recipes (including brownies, pies, shakes, cookies, fudge and more) for amazing flavor, consistency and nutrition. If you’re a larger manufacturer, you can use it to make truffles, energy bars and more. It will add richness and flavor to any product, while multiplying the nutritional and antioxidant value.
Again, the advantage is tremendous because this form of raw chocolate is already “pre-processed,” so its texture is exceptionally smooth and buttery. When added to bars, truffles, ice creams and a wide variety of chocolate recipes, the result is the traditional smooth of consistency people have come to love and expect from chocolate, something cacao nibs and powder simply cannot offer.
In addition to the smooth, buttery texture of traditional chocolate, Raw Cacao Paste contains substantially more antioxidants than other high-quality sources of dark chocolate.
Organic Raw Cacao Powder
Organic Raw Cacao Butter
- According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), certain chocolates and cocoa – specifically the low-sugar forms – may provide cardiovascular health benefits in a wide range of people.
- The research also showed that the fatty acids in cacao butter are predominantly saturated (stearic and palmitic) and monounsaturated (oleic).
- Consumption of saturated fats is often negatively associated with cardiovascular health, and therefore, because of cacao butter’s saturated fat content, some incorrectly perceive it as a "bad" food. However, stearic acid is a unique fatty acid in that does not elevate blood cholesterol levels the way other saturated fats do. Studies have found that diets containing cocoa and chocolate have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels in humans.