How to Make Iron Boosting Hot Cacao

How to Make Iron Boosting Hot Cacao

I love hot chocolate. (Well anything chocolate, actually). My kids have a cup almost every day in the winter. Especially during the Christmas season, there is something so special about cozying up next to the fire with family during the holidays and sharing a hot cup of deliciousness. I want to step away from the processed chemical laden foods and we have to avoid dairy for several kids food sensitivities. We found this tasty recipe with iron boosting properties of raw cacao powder and blackstrap molasses. These two ingredients both have incredible health benefits, especially raw cacao, which is a superfood filled with antioxidants. 

Iron Content:

Raw cacao contains about 7.3 mg iron* per 100 grams. Studies have shown that cocoa is a significant source of moderately bioavailable iron. (1) Raw cacao is also high in beneficial antioxidants and magnesium.

Blackstrap Molasses contains about 3.5 mg of iron* for per 1 tbsp (2). Blackstrap molasses also contains calcium and magnesium.

For healthy adults between the ages 19-50, the recommended daily allowance is 8 mg for men and 18 mg for women.

*Plant-based iron is not absorbed well by the body. Taking vitamin C with plant-based iron helps to increase its absorption. I would highly recommend this if you want the iron boosting benefits (2).

Boost your iron naturally with homemade, healthy hot chocolate made with raw cacao and molasses! Just in time for the holiday season. Read the recipe at!

Why Boost Iron?

Why do I care about iron so much? Well, before we start making hot cacao, let’s do science.

What does iron do in the body? In a short sense, iron assists the cells in delivering oxygen to the tissues.

Red blood cells are filled with proteins called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin grabs oxygen as it comes from the lungs via the air we breathe. These oxygen rich red blood cells go from the lungs to the heart and then are pumped throughout the body. The oxygen is released to the cells in the body where it is utilized and the red blood cells pick up carbon dioxide. They travel back to the lungs where we expel the carbon dioxide through breathing and the process starts over.


Hemoglobin is made of two parts, heme rings and globin chains. Each hemoglobin has four total heme rings and four total globin chains.  Each heme ring contains iron in the center; “Fe” is the periodic table abbreviation for elemental iron. This iron binds oxygen. So, there are four heme rings, each with an iron atom in the center; therefore, one hemoglobin can carry four oxygen molecules. The more red blood cells you have, the more hemoglobin you have. The more hemoglobin you have, the more oxygen your cells can carry. There are two blood tests that are done on a regular basis to check the oxygen carrying capacity of a persons blood: hemoglobin and hematocrit. (3)

  • A hemoglobin measurement is the grams per deciliter of hemoglobin in your blood.
  • A hematocrit measurement is the percent of packed red blood cells in your blood.

A lack of iron decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of your red blood cells, may decrease your hemoglobin and hematocrit measurements,  and is a cause, but not the only cause, of anemia.

Boost your iron naturally with homemade, healthy hot chocolate made with raw cacao and molasses! Just in time for the holiday season. Read the recipe at!

Hot Cacao Recipe

  • 12-16 oz of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • ½-1 tbsp blackstrap molasses (start small, add more if you like the flavor)
  • One scoop grass-fed collagen peptides for a protein boost (optional)
  • Dash of ginger
  • Dash of cinnamon or cinnamon stick

    **Its not very sweet. My littles like it with a bit of organic stevia or xylitol to taste.

Heat for a couple minutes on the stove add all ingredients, and mix very well with a whisk. 

The cacao iron article and recipe originally appeared at:

Please consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially if you have a specific diagnosis or condition. The information on this site should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to be a consult with a healthcare provider. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits from food or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease

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