Of the greatest sentences ever uttered, “I’d like to give you a pay rise”, “I love you” and “The children are asleep” must rank fairly highly. However, topping the lot is surely “Chocolate is good for you”.
All right, perhaps that’s a little strong; but news that one of our favourite indulgences actually has positive health benefits is great. Knowing that you can boost your mood, improve blood flow and avoid anaemia is not only reassuring, it means that you can treat yourself without the guilt. That’s why you’ll often see raw chocolate – like Ombar – in whole / health food shops.
If you’re not familiar with raw chocolate, allow us to explain. Rather than roasting the cacao beans, they are processed at lower temperatures, thereby retaining far more nutrients and goodness. As the beans have not been roasted, they are considered raw.
Raw chocolate is perfect for those who are trying to ‘eat clean’, those who are lactose intolerant and those who are discerning about their chocolate. The ingredients used to make our raw chocolate are organic and intentionally so. We use coconut sugar rather than refined sugar, and the bars are vegan. We wanted even our flavourings to possess a nutritional aspect, that’s why we use whole fruits, which are dried and powdered. Mass-produced chocolate bars can’t make the same claims.
Essentially, raw chocolate caters for a wide variety of palates and dietary requirements while simultaneously remaining delicious – that’s what makes it special.
We were inspired to deliver a superfood chocolate bar and that’s what we did. The majority of the health benefits are found within the humble cacao bean and preserved purely because of how the bean is processed.
Cacao contains flavonoids, antioxidant compounds which are said to protect against cell damage caused by free-radicals. The flavonoids found in cacao are called flavonols and research has found that they are especially beneficial with regard to blood flow. They help to lower blood pressure, promote normal blood clotting function and – as part of a healthy diet and exercise routine - have been said to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Non-raw chocolate is also treated in a ‘conching’ process which uses high heat. While doing so, it removes many of the beneficial flavonoids – hence raw chocolate contains more. In fact, the flavonoid content of raw chocolate can be six times more than that of standard bars.
Chocolate is also known for its mood boosting qualities, as it encourages the production of ‘happy hormone’ endorphins and contains serotonin, which acts as a natural (mild) anti-depressant.
Raw chocolate is also high in minerals such as iron, magnesium and manganese which help to sustain energy levels and protect cells.
That’s not all. Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries is that chocolate could reverse memory decline. A study by Columbia University found that high-flavonol cocoa rejuvenated activity in the part of the brain where the decline occurs. The flavonols promoted blood flow to this cranial region and in some cases, incredibly, researchers saw participants’ memories restored to that of someone twenty or thirty years younger. Naturally, more work needs to be done to clarify and confirm the suggestion, but it’s an extremely positive discovery nonetheless.
No matter how healthy you try to be, there are some days when you just want to inhale a good bar of chocolate. Yes, our raw chocolate may be created with the finest ingredients, is suitable for vegans and free of refined sugar and artificial flavourings, but rest assured, the best bit is the taste.
You might wonder how, without the usual additives, raw chocolate can match up. Fear not - it’s better. As we use fine-flavoured cacao from Ecuador, the taste is richer and more intense. Where some dark chocolate can be bitter, Ombar is creamy, smooth and complex.
Though you’re eating a healthy alternative, you’re still indulging in a luxurious and delicious bar of your favourite food. Raw chocolate is good for the mind, the body and the taste buds.
Why not try for yourself and browse our range of exotic treats?