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5 Ways to Incorporate Raw Cacao Into Your Diet

examples of raw cacao in measuring cups on a white table
SEE D JAN/Shutterstock

Chocolate is a word that gets everyone’s mood up, brings smiles to faces, and invoke thoughts of delicious desserts that push stress aside. How to get the healthiest kick out of it and have this dark magic potion for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Here are six ways to incorporate raw cacao into your diet!

Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls

Even if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the smoothie and smoothie bowl trend. The biggest reason why it became so popular is the quick and easy aspect of throwing veggies, fruit, herbs, spices, and superfood powders into the same bowl and simply blending it up with a push of a button. And voilà! You have a perfectly good breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, post-workout shake…you name it!

Some companies, such as Daily Harvest, even created their whole business model around it. Adding raw cacao, one of the foods with the highest antioxidant levels in the world into your concoction, not only satisfies your sweet tooth and allows you to create the most delicious creations, but it also packs a bunch of health benefits along the way.

Cacao pairs well with fruits such as banana, berries, pomegranate, and plums, as well as any nut butters, coconut, and all the nuts and seeds your heart desires. You can even go crazy and add some into your spinach and zucchini smoothie; it may sound gross, but it’s actually delicious! Thank the gods of Instagram and Pinterest for having thousands of recipes just waiting for you to blend them up in your kitchen!

Mocha, Latte, or hot cacao? All of the above!

I think we can all agree that cacao was made to be paired with milk. Any choice of milk, we might add. From regular to non-fat and all the possible plant-based alternatives, cacao seems to go well with everything. Adding some spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, or even chili and mint, there are countless variations you can try and have them sweeten (and warm) up your day.

a delicious low-calories chai latte served in a clear glass mug
Living Well Mom

With the cold season upon us, there’s no better time than to experiment with different combinations and know that you’re adding precious antioxidants into your body, helping it fight off toxins and pathogens, all while building your immune system. Start your day with a delicious and energizing mocha, lower your afternoon stress with a superfood chai latte, and get ready for bed by drinking a cup of this calming hot chocolate potion. A perfect day, don’t you think?

Chocolate Desserts

This one speaks for itself, as cacao in any dessert or sweet treat is a good idea. Great ways to make them healthier is by playing around with different sugar substitutes, such as coconut sugar, stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or honey; replacing butter with coconut butter or ghee; making it vegan by switching up eggs for flax egg or chia egg; or even going for the gluten-free challenge and experimenting with rice or buckwheat flour, coconut flakes, or almond meal.

From cookies and raw cakes to baked goods and homemade chocolate bars & pralines, cacao is the best ingredient you can work with. Its rich flavor masks a lot, and simply adding a sprinkle can improve any recipe – and it’s bringing a ton of excellent vitamins and minerals into the mix. Just try this amazing chocolate cake or these gooey brownies – you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to incorporate them into your daily cooking habits!


Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – raw cacao in a sauce, isn’t that just…chocolate sauce? Well, yes, but there are different sauces and broths to which you can add cacao to create all sorts of flavorful dishes. Look at mole, for example. One of the traditional sauces of the Mexican cuisine, mole uses cacao as its main ingredient, and it’s used in all sorts of vegetable, seafood, or meat savory dishes.

Some chefs add it to their homemade pesto and claim it gives it some “smokiness,” some add it to their chili recipe because it contrasts the beef well, and some add it to their balsamic glaze so that it elevates any vegetable it gets drizzled on. This might open your mind to loads of possibilities, so do a quick Google search and find recipes you want to try.

Chocolate Face Mask

Cacao found its way into skincare as well. From powders and body butters to shampoos and lipgloss, cacao is the new IT ingredient everyone wants to get their hands on. In terms of ways you can incorporate it into your homemade beauty routine, try this chocolate face mask, and don’t worry if you make a mess or it ends up in your mouth—the ingredients are so amazing that you can get away with eating them as well.

With all the ways you can incorporate cacao into your diet and beauty routines, you’re sure to find a perfect fit. So get to your local health food store, find the best cacao powder you can find, and start playing around with some amazing recipes!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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