Whether enjoyed as a hot chocolate ingredient to warm a winter soul, or as a Valentine's Day treat for a sweetie, February is the most popular month for cacao and all chocolate products. To celebrate "chocolove season," we're offering a 30% discount this week on all of our organic cacao products.
Due to a steady stream of news about research that demonstrates the many health benefits of dark chocolate, more and more consumers are seeking out darker chocolate products that contain the most cacao. A growing trend is to see packaging for various chocolate products that announces the percentage of cacao it contains. We're proud to offer the darkest organic chocolate products possible – 100% cacao!
Although the most well-known health benefit associated with dark chocolate pertains to cardiovascular health, new research is showing it may have a role in addressing a wide variety of other health issues, including skin and brain health. Now, the most recent study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research states that eating cacao could also help prevent intestinal disease. "Our findings provide the first in vivo evidence that a cocoa rich diet may inhibit the early stage of colon carcinogenesis," the researchers stated.
Other research published over the past year includes headlines such as:
"Dark Chocolate may combat exercise-induced oxidative stress."
(European Journal of Nutrition)
"Cocoa Extracts may benefit cholesterol levels."
(Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases)
"Chocolate can reduce heart disease risk by a third."
(British Medical Journal)
"Antioxidant-rich cacao shows short-term heart benefits: Harvard Review."
(Journal of Nutrition)
"Dark chocolate/cocoa effective for cholesterol improvements."
(European Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
Finding a premium source for cacao grown in lush soils, and then minimally processing it is very important for insuring the optimal nutritional, and therefore, potential health benefit value. Thats why Navitas Naturals takes special care during the sourcing, harvesting, handling and processing of our cacao.
First, the cacao beans are extracted from the pod-like fruit and partially fermented to reduce bitterness. Our partners in Peru hand-select the best cacao beans, cleanse them with purified water, and then process them into nibs, liquor (paste), powder and butter.
Navitas Naturals cacao products are processed only at low temperatures. Food safety is also very important to us. That's why each product batch is independently tested for micro-contaminants to ensure the cacao is the cleanest and safest available.
We offer expert culinary tips and a wide variety of delicious cacao recipes on our website. You can also view a bunch of fun and informative cacao recipe videos by chef Julie Morris on the Navitas Naturals TV channel on YouTube.
Navitas Naturals aims to help make it easy for people to enjoy the many benefits of organic superfoods. That's why we launched the Smoothment – an interactive, multimedia program that features easy and delicious smoothie recipes and advice from gurus. The goal of the Smoothment is to inspire people to upgrade the nutrition of one meal or snack per day by substituting an organic superfood smoothie into their routine. Since it's time to celebrate cacao season, below we are sharing one of the most popular 60-Second Smoothie recipe videos that was in our first Smoothment program – Good Morning Mocha.
Some days you need a little something extra to get the spring back in your step. The Good Morning Mocha smoothie is a great way to get energized. Cacao, the key ingredient in this smoothie, is both a stimulant and a nourishing food. Although cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as other stimulants including theobromine, it primarily provides energy through its potent antioxidants and other nutrients that promote blood circulation and oxygenation in the body. Cacao also provides notable quantities of several "Good Mood" phytochemicals that increase the activity of beneficial neurotransmitters and endorphins, enabling us to feel better mentally. Join the Smoothment and get energized!
Good Morning Mocha
⅔ cup Navitas Naturals Raw Cashews
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons Navitas Naturals Palm Sugar
2 tablespoons Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs
1¼ cup coconut water
2-3 cups ice
Grant Korgan is one of the most inspiring athletes that we have met. Two years ago, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a snowmobile accident. Since then, he has made steps forward on his road to recovery, but no steps were more important than those he took at the South Pole with some help from his friends. Grant is determined to make progress and to help others with spinal injuries. On January 17, after 12 grueling days pushing a custom Sit-Ski across 75 miles of ice and snow in Antarctica through windy sub-zero F temperatures, Korgan and his team reached the South Pole.
The South Pole Push expedition was assisted by a grant from the High Fives Foundation, a non-profit that supports adaptive athletes in winter sports. In his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Korgan noted "I get bad gas milage, I need a lot of fuel." We're glad that we could provide him with the right kind – Navitas Power Snacks. We interviewed Korgan after his return from Antarctica.
Navitas Naturals (NN): How did the Navitas Power Snacks perform as a nutrition fuel on the expedition, did you feel like they helped keep you get energized?
Grant Korgan (GK): Because I have such a fast metabolism it is often challenging for me to find a snack that not only provides enough energy, but is also not filled with sugar and preservatives. The Navitas Power Snacks provided a phenomenal alternative to traditional "power snacks" that were filled with nutrient dense and natural products that helped keep me fueled and kept my blood sugar stable as I pushed across the Polar Plateau.
NN: How many miles per day did the expedition travel to reach the Pole?
GK: The average distance we covered each day was approximately seven miles and sometimes hitting the higher goal of eight miles per day.
NN: What turned out to be the biggest challenge of all?
GK: The cold and the texture of the snow are the two things that could not be replicated in any training. The -45 (and sometimes lower) temperature is something that, although we attempted to simulate in both Norway and Alaska, we couldn't recreate anywhere, and the texture of the snow was like Velcro – a snow that can only be experienced on the Polar plateau.
NN: Did you have a particular habit as to what part of the day you would eat the Navitas Power Snacks?
GK: Because we only had two "official" meals a day, breakfast and dinner, (it was too cold to stop for lunch and would take too much time because we would need to set up the tent), I ate Navitas Power Snacks throughout the day.
NN: What other foods were key for your expedition diet?
GK: Dehydrated foods for dinner and sometimes breakfast – this was the easiest way to get as many calories as we could in one sitting, that being said, it was Navitas that kept me powered throughout the day…I ate a lot of Navitas!
NN: We heard in one of your podcasts that the temps dropped to as low as 45 below zero F. Did the Power Snacks freeze or did they maintain chewiness?
GK: The Power Snacks never seemed to freeze completely; this could be in part because we always kept them in our pockets, close to our body heat. It was great to have a snack that tasted good and didn't have to thaw out in my mouth. Additionally, the fact that Navitas was bite sized meant that I didn't have to fumble with packaging, it generated minimal trash and provided a great and easy snack on the go.
NN: How many calories did you consume per day, and how does that compare to a normal person's intake?
GK: We would consume an average of 4000-6000 calories per day. Depending on someone's lifestyle that could be considered average or above average.
NN: In one of the blog podcasts, you talked about how you could "See the Beauty" and that was an important theme of your's to live by, can you tell our readers about that?
GK: The idea of "Seeing the Beauty" is a statement that was inspired by a philosophy that my (Grant's) father-in-law has shared, and for me it is about consciously choosing to see that there is beauty in every input around us. It's about making a conscious decision in finding positivity in all things that impact us. While I was on the ice I would think to myself, "wow, it's really, really, really cold" and in the same thought I was thinking of the beauty of the cold and the beauty that I could feel the cold. Seeing the beauty for me is about choosing to see the Possibility in Positivity.
NN: What is next for you and your cause?
GK: What is next for the cause and me is to share the message of the power of Possibility through Positivity, the power of love and the strength of the human spirit through presentations, speaking engagements and the upcoming documentary, The Push. The goal to raise awareness for the High Fives Foundation, the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and spinal cord injury recovery is still at the forefront of my goals. I will also be releasing my first book, Two Feet Back, which I finished writing before I left for Antarctica.
Superfoods expert Dr. Lindsey Duncan introduced the ladies at The View to the benefits of maca in a recent episode. We're psyched that Navitas Naturals Maca Powder was clearly displayed on the table. The episode generated a lot of traffic on our website, and people were clearly searching for the keyword "maca", and if they're searching our website, they are also looking for it at stores. Whether you are a fan of The View or not, it's exciting that a mainstream show like that is helping to educate people about organic superfoods and healthy lifestyle alternatives.
Other fun TV news this month included the Navitas Power Snacks in a Good Day Colorado (FOX 31) story about the healthiest nutrition bars. In the TV segment, the Power Snacks were highlighted by Kelsey Blackwell, the Food Editor of Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine, as one that stores should stock. The video is a companion to a feature story that ran this month in Natural Foods Merchandiser and their online portal New Hope 360. For more "Navitas in the news," visit our website's media page.