By Angelica Bottaro
There are two kinds of people in this world—those who love chocolate and those who have never tried chocolate. All jokes aside, chocolate and all its variations is a popular guilty pleasure for a reason. It’s sweet with a trace of bitterness, delicious with a dash of delectable, and can be mixed with pretty much anything and still taste just as good. It’s a comfort food for many and a welcomed addition to any dessert option. Not to mention, it’s been known to increase happiness as it could interact with our dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters.
The problem with typical chocolate is that the plant it comes from, the cacao plant, is more than half wasted when it’s processed to make your favourite sweet treat. You’d be hard-pressed to find a chocolate lover willing to give up their snack of choice even if making it is wasteful.
Is there a better way to get that sweet goodness without having to participate in the horror that is unsustainable food practices? Can you have your chocolate and eat it too, all while staying healthy and helping to utilize the often-wasted part of the cacao plant? It turns out there is, and its name is cacao water.
What Is Cacao Water?
The cacao plant is a small evergreen tree native to South America. On the tree grows seeds, fruit, and leaves. The seeds, often referred to as cacao beans, are used to make the chocolate products we all know and love.
The rest of the tree is typically thrown away or underused completely. The fruit, for example, is the white fleshy part that houses the cacao bean, but it’s rarely used for anything once the beans have been extracted.
Cacao water is made from this underrated part of the tree. The beverage doesn’t resemble any chocolate drink product you may have tried before. Its unique flavour is indescribable, and nothing like the rich chocolatey flavor we’re familiar with.
If I had to choose a way to describe it, I’d have to say vanilla lemonade. It’s refreshing, tangy, and has many health benefits.
All this time, people were sitting on a gold mind of deliciousness, and they didn’t even know it because we were all too obsessed with the seeds inside!
What Are The Health Benefits?
Even though many people associate chocolate with being a culprit when it comes to tight jeans and jiggly thighs, the cacao plant in and of itself is actually super healthy. It’s one of those plants that could be dubbed a superfood, thanks to all the health benefits it has to offer.
The fruit cacao water comes from is jam-packed with healthy nutrients. Antioxidants, for example, are used by the body in many different ways, like keeping our immune systems in check and ridding the body of pesky free radicals. Cacao water is full of these helpful little nutrients. According to one website that sells the beverage, a 10.5-ounce serving contains almost double the amount of antioxidants as blueberries.
The beverage also has impressive amounts of much-needed electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium. The body needs electrolytes to keep nerves and muscles functioning properly and maintain the body’s correct acid balance. Since cacao water also contains these electrolytes, it can hydrate the body better than water.
And last but certainly not least, the final added health benefit of the sweet little drink is its aid with maintaining gut health. This is because of the dietary fiber it contains, which is vital to gut health. These fibres create a healthy microbiome in the body.
You may feel this is starting to sound like an advertisement for cacao water, but I assure you, it’s not.
I just know that healthy eating is the way to healthy living, and sometimes water can get super boring, okay? Besides, cacao water isn’t just delicious and nutritious; it’s good for the environment, too.
The Planet Saving Drink (Sort Of)
Cacao water may not save the cacao tree entirely. However, using the fruit from the tree helps to minimize waste. This extra use can help make the production of our beloved chocolate much more sustainable. And sustainability is where it’s at because we only have one planet. We have to start treating her like she’s the only one for us.
Also, by using the whole tree, or as much as possible, cacao farmers can earn more from their crop. This means more money in the hardworking pockets of the people that give us that chocolatey goodness!
So, if you have tried cacao water, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I suggest you do so, like, right now.
Featured image courtesy Bluestripes.com