ACTICOA the bittersweet indulgence that keeps you healthy

ACTICOA the bittersweet indulgence that keeps you healthy

Nowadays we stumble upon the word 'superfood' at almost every step of a normal day and the term has conquered the world in a heartbeat.

And what does the term 'superfood' really mean?

The Macmillan Dictionary definitiondefines superfood as ''a food that is considered to be very good for your health and that may even help some medical conditions.''

But while exploring the term 'superfood', it was quite frequently stated that this is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits. It reminds me of the whole hype with the term 'wellness', which was also abused for marketing purposes, but more about the term 'superfood' and it's abuse, in a separate article.

superfoods-sign

Due to its positive effects on the body and well-being, incorporating 'superfood' into spa menus is becoming a very popular trend in the spa and wellness industry. Many spas around the world are including superfoods into their offer in different ways. Some of them offer at the end of the treatment, in addition to the standard tea, a healthy snack in the form of nuts, berries, kale chips… Other spas have juice bars which serve green smoothies, fresh vegetable and fruit juices and there are also the wellness hotels that incorporate 'superfood' into their exquisite restaurant menus.

 

The 'superfood' I will talk about, is the type of food rich in antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients and is delicious. Any idea what I have in mind? Yes, it is chocolate.

superfoods

 

On many superfood lists published online you can find very different foods, some quite common, for example: kale, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, peanuts… others a little more 'exotic': goji berries, bok choy, wheatgrass, acai berries, edamame beans… and despite the fact that these lists can be very different, the majority of them include raw cocoa or dark chocolate.

So what is so amazing about raw cocoa and dark chocolate?

Raw cacao beans, out of which cocoa powder is made, are probably the world's most concentrated source of antioxidants found in any food. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples in vitro and this method shows that raw cacao beans have an antioxidant score of 95,500 (ORAC). Just to make it a bit easier to understand, that is 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine and 21 times more than green tea. And they are also very high in magnesium and iron, so in my book raw cacao beans are definitely a 'superfood'.

darkchocolate 

But before we get too excited, we have to know that most cocoa powder and commercial chocolate is processed with a technique called the 'Dutch method' by which the beans are processed with very high temperatures up to 150°C and treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its colour and give it a milder taste. Unfortunately during this process most of the nutrients and antioxidants are destroyed.  

And here is where the healthy chocolate takes centre stage. It is the company Berry Callebaut who found a way to preserve the healthy benefits of the raw cocoa beans. They developed a special ACTICOA technique where the cocoa flavanols* are retained up to 80% during the process of making chocolate. And how do they do it? The ACTICOA process starts at the cocoa plantations, where they are analysing ways of growing, harvesting and treating the beans and definitely not overheating them (never exceeding 40°C), so that the maximum amount of flavanols, minerals and sensitive vitamins in the beans is preserved, together with the taste and aromas.

ACTICOA - loss of cocoa polyphenols

 

So indulging in a piece of ACTICOA chocolate will strengthen your immune system, maintain your heart healthy, improve your concentration and nourish your skin. And just recently they have even obtained an EU approved health claim in which it states that the chocolate flavanols in ACTICOA cocoa powder help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contribute to normal blood flow.

Callebaut's ACTICOA recives EC health claim

 

The ACTICOA has a velvety, rich and deep chocolate taste. It will definitely evoke your senses, but I must warn you, it is a bit bittersweet, but once you get used to it, you will never reach for milk chocolate again. As chocolate being definitely my favourite sweet indulgence, with ACTICOA my guilty pleasure is becoming a healthy lifestyle.

 

ACTICOA chocolate is a delicious 'superfood' which could, in my opinion, be a wonderful treat for spa guests at the end of a treatment and it just might be the cherry on top to create that perfect spa experience.

ACTICOA - Lucifer Chocolate

Tips:

Apart from Barry Callebaut, there are a few chocolatiers in the world selling the ACTICOA chocolate made with the ACTICOA process, so if searching for it in your country, maybe it’s best to check the ACTICOA official website: http://www.acticoa.com/ and for my Slovenian readers, you can find this heavenly delicious chocolate at Lucifer: http://www.lucifer-chocolate.si/

 

* Flavanols (also referred to as flavan-3-ols) are a class of flavonoids (antioxidants).

 

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