Why We Love Cacao in Smoothies
* Superfood Spotlight *
Are you looking for some ways to make your smoothie more rich and divine? Well, let your search end here! We’re going to take a deep dive into one of the most beloved ingredients on earth – Cacao! Read to the end to learn just how much we love a cacao smoothie recipe and why you need to stock it in your smoothie recipes arsenal.
What Is Cacao?
Our beloved cacao is the fruit of Theobroma cacao, or more commonly known as the cacao tree. It is the prime ingredient for some of the yummiest foods on Earth, such as chocolate liquor, chocolate, cocoa powder, and even cocoa butter. Could you imagine a world without these delicious, beloved indulgences? We couldn’t, nor would we ever want to. With raw cacao, the inside of the fruit, the cocoa nibs, is its usable part. It is dried, roasted, and subjected to intensive processing to bring out its rich chocolatey flavor; only after this long process are the beans ready to use.
The History of the Cacao Bean
The history of Cacao is actually very interesting. It has been consumed for approximately 5000 years and to date. Maya, Toltec, and Aztec ancestors widely cultivated Cacao. It was then used as the key ingredient of ceremonial beverages, as well as currency! To produce this special beverage, the cacao nibs were first dried, roasted, and formed into a paste. This paste was then converted into small cakes that were then dried. The cakes were whisked into the water, which created a very potent drinkable liquid. This drink was called xocoatl, which means bitter water. When xocoatl eventually found its way to Europe, it was too bitter for European taste, and so the people modified it by adding sugar. It soon became a popular beverage throughout Europe. Many people started experimenting with Cacao, and soon enough, the first chocolate was made. Both chocolate and chocolate beverages were well-loved among people all over Europe and eventually became a prominent ingredient in many other countries. Another fun fact about cacao is that scientific name of the cacao tree means "The food of the Gods" in Greek.
Traditional Uses of Cacao
For many decades, the cacao fruit was widely eaten without seeds in different parts of South America. The raw fruit was consumed, and seeds were not used as such. The fruit was used by many South American cultures to make alcoholic drinks through fermentation. The alcoholic drink was then also used to make vinegar. To date, the fruit of the Cacao tree is used in smoothies and another dishes in Brazil. However, the practice of fermenting, roasting, and grinding took place in Mesoamerica. Throughout Mesoamerica and South America, Cacao was used in countless other ways. It was used as a stimulant to treat fatigue, emollients to treat dry skin, and antiseptics to be used around wounds. Due to its stimulant and energy-rich nature, cacao beverage was also fed to soldiers to help prepare them for war. In addition to just being an indulgent treat, it was also used for other medicinal purposes such as treating bronchitis, cold, fever, and soothing burns.
Benefits of Cacao
As seen in older civilizations, Cacao has numerous potential health benefits. Cacao chock full of nutrients that its commonly referred to as a superfood. Even today, people are gravitating to the use of Cacao for its numerous health benefits and as a way to sweeten healthy dishes and smoothies that just need a little something more. Some of the potential health benefits include:
Reduced Blood Pressure
Cacao is one of the most potent sources of Flavanols. Flavanols are extremely beneficial for the cardiovascular system. These flavanols have the potential to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood. This often results in better blood flow and improved blood vessel function. The overall effect is to reduce blood pressure. People having high blood pressure can consume Cacao both in raw cacao powder as well as liquid forms.
Cacao also provides many anti-inflammatory properties. It is abundant in polyphenols which are antioxidants. Polyphenols help reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. All these properties make it essential to be consumed every day as a treat for your body!
Improves Mood and Helps Fight Depression
It should come as no surprise that chocolate just makes the world a better place. Chocolate, made from Cacao, has many positive effects on our brain. It not only helps with age-related mental degeneration but also improves your mood and sentiments. It has an amino acid, tryptophan, which is converted into the happy hormone, serotonin, upon absorption. This helps improve your mood.
Why is a Cacao Smoothie Recipe so Great?
Cacao has a rich and elite flavor that is loved by everyone. Dark chocolate has the greatest concentrations of Cacao and is also extremely healthy. On its own chocolate is yummy, but when added to a cacao smoothie, it's taken to a whole new level of awesome! If you are using large quantities of vegetables and greens in your smoothies and need something to enhance the deliciousness, Cacao is what you need. You can incorporate Cacao into your smoothies either in cocoa powder form or chocolate chips and shavings. If you need some inspirational smoothie recipes that are simple and delicious, we’ve got you covered, combine these ingredients in your desired amounts:
- Spinach, Avocado, and Cacao Powder for a power-packed cacao smoothie recipe
- Mango, Strawberry, and Cacao Powder for a chocolate-covered cherry cacao smoothie recipe
- Banana, Peanut Butter, and Cacao Powder for a rich, decadent cacao smoothie recipe
Or, for those of you who like a simpler, prepared option that takes the guess work out of smoothie making, Blendtopia has you covered. We have several cacao smoothie kits available that feature Cacao. Let’s take a look at your ideal daily smoothies:
This delicious cacao smoothie is a customer favorite! It features the keto-friendly ingredients organic cauliflower, organic avocados, organic cauliflower puree, water, organic virgin coconut oil, organic cacao powder, and more!
If you need a little energy boost throughout the day, our Energy Smoothie is just what you need. Featuring delicious ingredients like organic pineapple, organic bananas, organic blueberries, organic coconut milk, and organic cacao powder. It’s not only powerful but delicious too!
This quick, nourishing smoothie is great for pre workout smoothie or post-workout fuel. It boasts the organic ingredients of pineapple, banana, spinach, avocados, cacao powder, and more. It’s a power-packed green machine loaded with nutrients that you just have to indulge in.
There are so many different reasons to love Cacao, and so many more reasons to love using it in your smoothies! Whether it be purely for flavor, or to help boost your mood, or recover after a strenuous workout, Cacao will do the trick. If you are new to smoothie making, indulge in one of Blendtopia’s smoothie kits. If you’re a smoothie pro, jump right in and get to blending with Cacao today!
Question: What kind of milk should I be using in my cacao smoothie?
Answer: Of course, it depends on your preference, and we recommend reading What is the Best Milk for Smoothies for more information. With that said, our strong preference for a cacao smoothie is to minimize the impact of the milk and rely on the chocolate, so we tend to lean towards soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. In general, nut milk is great with cacao and our top option would be unsweetened almond milk or oat milk.
Question: Is nut butter a good addition to a cacao smoothie?
Answer: Absolutely, nut butter, particularly almond butter, is one of the most frequently combined items with raw cacao! It's why chocolate and nuts are so frequently combined! Peanut butter is always a great option, they make sure you pay attention to the label and lean towards a lower-sugar natural peanut butter. Almond butter is another very popular nut butter to add to your smoothie recipe.
Question: Is it OK to add frozen banana to my smoothies?
Answer: 100% yes, bananas, especially frozen banana, are an outstanding addition to virtually all smoothie recipes. Banana and chocolate are a timeless combination and honestly, I tend to add a frozen banana to every smoothie I make. Frozen bananas are ideal not only because of the consistency and flavor, but a frozen banana can help replace the need for ice, allowing the flavor of the chocolate and the banana to really shine.