Author: Steph Innes.
What happens when extremely healthy, nourishing, nutrient-filled health food falls in love with decadent, delightfully sweet, rich, luxurious dessert…?
The ultimate love-child, otherwise known as The Fire Fighter, Peanut Butter Nutter and The Little Mermaid (just to name a few). Hear Us Raw takes the crown of ultimate child-naming goals. Jamie Oliver, you’re a close second.
Any-who, apart from the epic names and insanely delicious nature of all 12 incredible treats, the other thing these bites of goodness share is the sneaky inclusion of several amazing ingredients, holding the ability to add a new layer of super-powers to your already healthful diet.
Now, we’ve all heard/read/watched the infomercial rattling off the looooong list of almost ‘too-good-to-be-true’ wonders of superfoods to a point where I believe the term ‘superfood’ has even started to lose its meaning and impact for that matter. Like, if I added this glittery rainbow powder to my smoothie and don’t turn into a unicorn… why would I even bother?
Furthermore, I would consider my basic dark leafy greens and brassica vegetables to be in line with anything named SUPERFOOD because the compounds found in those beauties are pretty super-fanatastical!
So for this articles purpose, let’s instead refer to these additional dietary inclusions as; ‘Functional Foods.’ Defined as; Foods that have a potentially positive effect on healthy beyond basic nutrition.
If you have a read through the ingredients list of each of the cutely named raw treats listed above, you will be sure to find a short list of highly nutritious ingredients; like dates providing antioxidants, fibre, several minerals. Nuts providing unsaturated fatty acids, such as anti-inflammatory omega-3’s, the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, protein, calcium the list goes on! Buckwheat and chia again providing great sources of fibre, so important for a healthy gut and digestion. All ingredients gluten-free and providing sources of plant-based proteins.
So why so many choices/flavours? Each little raw treat provides its own unique array of wonders by the small additions added, not only in the taste spectrum but in the potentially life-enriching mechanisms of powerful micronutrients (needed only in small amounts but essential for optimal growth and development).
I won’t go into detail about every functional element added to these bliss balls and bars, but instead focus my attention on two of my favourite additions to my diet that warms my heart to know can be found in my dessert-like indulgences.
Turmeric and Raw Cacao Powder.
The active compound curcumin found in turmeric can be considered a natural anti-inflammatory, known for Centuries in India for its medicinal properties particularly surrounding improved brain function and diminishing the risks of brain diseases. The powerful nature of curcumin can even match the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs, and thus can play a major role in multiple chronic western diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer without the side effects of a drug.
A 2017 study published online reviewing the effects of curcumin on human health, delves deep into the medicinal properties of the anti-inflammatory and oxidative management associated with curcumin with the inclusion of a large array of data and interesting studies if you are interested in a bit more of a read (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017).
As curcumin is a powerful antioxidant it also neutralizes free-radicals in the body; the bad-guys associated with oxidative stress and cell damage as a result of the highly unstable and reactive nature of these compounds. Thus neutralizing these molecular species can prevent the onset of a range of diseases like heart disease and cancer.
For all my fitness freaks out there too, the anti-inflammatory properties of the bio-active compound has also been shown to manage exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness providing a step-up in recovery and thus overall performance! Raw balls after training every day! Heck yes!
For optimal absorption, curcumin should be consumed with a fatty meal as it is a fat soluble compound… thus the raw nuts and coconut oil found in Hear Us Raw products once again stepping up to enhance the health properties of these glorious products.
Now let’s head over to raw cacao.
Raw cacao might just be one of my favourite dessert-additions there is. And that is by no means linked to my choc-a-holic-ism (now a word in the oxford dictionary. Probably).
The polyphenol rich, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory boasting powder has once again been used for centuries in ancient Maya civilisation as a popular health-promoting medicine. The powder is obtained from crushed cocoa beans without the fat or cocoa butter resulting in a rich, bitter (and delightfully moreish) flavour.
Linked to lowered blood pressure via the reduction of Nitric oxide levels in the blood is due to the high flavanol content of cacao, dilating arteries and blood vessels thus lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke (Kwok et al, 2015).
The increased blood flow to the brain results in optimal brain function and may also improve mood and depressive symptoms. Again down to these powerful flavanols that play a role in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, higher levels of this chemical diminishing the risk of developing depression as well as playing a role in sleep, appetite and mood regulation (Jenkins, Nguyen, Polglaze & Bertrand, 2016).
Friends, I was heading down a rabbit-hole of studies and information and new findings that could have resulted in me writing a two-part novel on these two very interesting substances, so instead I will wrap it up here and leave you with an open invitation to do your own research too- delve a little deeper into the various products and hyped ingredients we are being fed every single day by the media through advertising and endorsements. Become your own scientist and review the literature before taking anything on face value. There are still so many studies to do surrounding even these compounds with some already holding conflicting evidence to their benefits, but being an informed consumer gives you the power to make the best decisions for your health.
So stay informed. Become aware. Put the control back in your hands.
And eat a delicious raw treat whilst you do your research. Because that’s happiness.