5 Amazing Benefits of Cacao!
Whereas cocoa is heavily processed, cacao is made by cold-pressing raw cacao beans, which leaves all of the nutrients intact. The roasting and other processing that cocoa undergoes robs it of most of its nutritional value, and even though it might taste good, it is but a shadow of its raw self. Dark chocolate is often praised for being packed with antioxidants, but it’s also still packed with processed sugar! Raw cacao, however, has four times the amount of antioxidants, and is also rich in flavonoids and magnesium, making it a true superfood. With the modern trend of chocolate bars getting darker and darker, pushing the limits of how bitter we are willing to go, why not just skip that unhealthy experience and try cacao in its purest form? Whether you bake with it or make a delicious beverage, here are just five of the many amazing benefits that cacao brings to the mind and body:
1.) The Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron
On a plant-based/vegan diet or just looking for more iron? Good news, your search is over! Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a huge 7.3mg per 100g. The next runner up is spinach at just 3.6mg. It’s important to note that the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), which is a little harder for the body to absorb, so to get the maximum benefits you’ll want to combine it with some vitamin C. Iron is so important because it assists in delivering vital oxygen to the tissues of the body.
2.) Cacao is a Natural Mood Enhancer!
Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cozy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression. A natural, healthy, delicious way to get your happy buzz on! Phenylethylamine is a beautiful chemical that humans have actually been shown to produce when they are in love! As well as actively making you happier, these chemicals help combat stress and promote feelings of connection and friendliness. So the next time you take a warm soothing sip of cacao you just might feel inspired to make some new friends!
3.) Amazing for Anti-Aging
Not only can cacao give a big boost to your thinking skills, but the high antioxidant content found in cacao can also counteract or slow down cognitive decline during the aging process. Furthermore, studies have shown that a diet rich in flavonoids can help reduce the risk of dementia, how incredible! It’s not just our insides that can benefit from the anti-aging powers of cacao - polyphenol antioxidants found in cacao protect our cells from premature oxidation or destruction and can keep us looking and feeling younger too.
4.) Cacao is Heart Healthy!
Have you already given your heart to cacao? Well don’t worry, cacao will love your heart back! High blood pressure is one of the biggest cardiovascular risk factors worldwide, and cacao can help lower your blood pressure naturally! Many dietary studies show that consuming cacao on a daily basis can significantly reduce blood pressure compared to those that don’t consume cacao. Some of the chemicals in cacao even provide an aspirin-like effect, and can prevent platelets from clumping in your blood, which can lead to serious health conditions like hardening of the arteries.
5.) It Promotes a Happy Gut
Cacao contains a lot of magnesium and fiber, which stimulates the body’s digestive enzymes and helps with the absorption of nutrients, improving digestive function, gut health, and bowel regularity. It can also help with weight management as it helps you feel fuller for longer, while also giving you tons of energy to get through your day! Cacao also promotes friendly bacteria and reduces inflammation in the gut. The gut friendly effects of cacao can even help with type two diabetes.
Researchers have found cacao flavanols can slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the gut, improve insulin secretion, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the uptake of sugar out of the blood into the muscle.
Besides magnesium, cacao is also high in copper, calcium, manganese, and zinc. The human body needs the minerals produced in copper, so since ancient times many drinks have been served in copper cups and vessels. If you’d like to experience more copper in your diet, check out one of our beautiful food grade and leak proof copper water bottles .