What are 5 Health Benefits of Consuming Raw Cacao?
Cacao (pronounced as“cu-cow”) refers to the Theobroma Cacao tree from which Cocoa is derived and is used when referring to unprocessed versions of the cacao bean.
Normal cocoa powder and chocolate have been chemically processed and roasted, which removes a high proportion of antioxidants and flavanols. Non-organic cocoa (and non-organic chocolate) has also been treated heavily with toxic pesticides and fumigation chemicals, and may contain genetically modified (GMO) products.
Cacao is made by cold pressing raw cacao beans ensuring that no nutrients are lost by heat treating. Unlike cocoa which has been roasted and heavily processed, raw cacao maintains its high nutritional profile making it a superfood loaded with flavanoids and magnesium.
Raw Organic Cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. The process of oxidation in the human body damages cell membranes and other structures, including cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. When oxygen is metabolised, it creates unstable molecules called ‘free radicals’ causing damage to DNA and other cells. Antioxidants may prevent some of the damage caused by free radicals by neutralising them.
Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron with 7.3mg per 100g. The iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so combine with some vitamin C to release the full health benefits. Iron is necessary for our red blood cells to carry nutrients and oxygen to our cells. Iron helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and the regulation of body temperature.
3. Brain and Heart Health and Better Sleep
Raw Organic Cacao is one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium which is good for promoting a healthy brain and heart, lowering blood pressure and promoting better sleep.
A magnesium compound has been shown to reverse markers of brain aging by as much as 14 years. Recent by MIT shows that magnesium-L-threonate concentrates in the brain to rebuild neuronal connections and youthful brain plasticity.
Magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm, regulate blood pressure and the production of cholesterol. Magnesium is also used to treat cardiovascular conditions, including: Arrhythmia, Angina and Coronary artery disease.
In people with hypertension, supplemental magnesium may lower blood pressure due to cacao flavanols improving cardiovascular function by increasing blood vessel flexibility.
Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency, therefore magnesium can increase better sleep quality.
Cacao may prevent premature skin aging and improved the skin’s elasticity and hydration levels. A 12-week double-blind clinical trial showed that patients who consumed the higher flavanol cacao powder reported firmer skin and less sun damage, versus the placebo group.
5. A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-Depressant
Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with feelings of well-being, happiness, and can even alleviate depression. Cacao also contains anandamide, sometimes referred to as the bliss molecule, which binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain creating a sense of ease and happiness.