Health Benefits of Cacao: From Chocolate Cravings to Health Boosts
You may have heard of cacao before, but do you know what it can really do for you? Read on to find out what cacao is all about and the range of health benefits it can offer!
What is cacao?
First, it might be worth establishing what this product is for those of you who are beginners to all things cacao. Cacao is an evergreen tree which produces seeds that are then utilised to make desirable products such as cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and chocolate! Cacao seeds, which are enclosed in big, oval pods, are primarily cultivated in West Africa.
The great thing about cacao is that it is a fantastic nutritional source. It contains:
By being so packed with nutrients, cacao is renowned for providing a long list of health benefits which we will discuss further in the article!
Cacao and cocoa: what’s the difference?
It can be easy to get mixed up between cacao and cocoa since they sound so similar. However, they hold some essential differences that you should be aware of.
Cacao is essentially raw cocoa. While both versions can provide various health benefits, we recommend using natural, unprocessed cacao. This is because regular cocoa powder and other cocoa products have been processed, significantly reducing the high number of antioxidants in the product.
This means that the processed version contains much less goodness than unprocessed types, even if they taste a little better. Furthermore, harmful chemicals are typically involved in processing non-organic versions of cocoa, negatively impacting our environment.
With all this being said, you should go for organic, raw cacao to reap its guiltless benefits. Cacao is relatively bitter, meaning you may have to taste it a few times before getting on board with the taste. However, embracing the natural benefits of cacao will be worth it in the long run!
Cacao Health Benefits
Cacao has a range of health benefits that you should be looking out for. Let’s take a glance at the most common ones below. Cacao can:
Boost heart and brain health
Raw cacao contains large amounts of magnesium. Magnesium plays an integral role in keeping our hearts and brains healthy by transforming glucose into energy. This element can boost your concentration, explaining why you turn to chocolate snacks when revising for a big exam.
Lower blood pressure
Flavonoids are present in cacao powder and work to lower individuals’ blood pressure and enhance blood flow. In this process, the flavonoids may also be able to reduce the risk of blood clots in the body.
Antioxidants have long been associated with good health; luckily, raw organic cacao is packed with them! Antioxidants operate by absorbing harmful free radicals, ensuring that cells and tissues are less likely to get damaged. This can boost health and well-being in the long run.
This plant-based product provides high sources of iron, meaning that consuming it could help boost the healthiness of your diet. Be sure to combine this source with other vitamins, which you can easily access from a range of superfoods, to access the most significant health benefits.
Enhance insulin sensitivity
The flavonoids in cacao could help boost health by enhancing the body’s insulin sensitivity. However, we need to execute more studies to confirm this. Furthermore, individuals should be mindful that a range of foods and lifestyle choices can impact the risk of obtaining certain conditions regarding insulin and that they shouldn’t rely solely on cacao.
Cacao is stuffed with neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are known to boost our moods and even act as a natural anti-depressant. So, by consuming cacao, you may start to feel happier and healthier in a natural way!
Provides a source of calcium
Organic raw cacao contains more calcium than your regular supermarket cow milk! This source can provide you with strong teeth and bones and overall wellness. Therefore, it might be time to opt for this natural, sustainable alternative instead of supporting our harmful dairy industry.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are more educated on how beneficial cacao can be for you and your body regarding its many health benefits. Cacao is packed with nutrients which can help support your overall well-being as well as have the potential to tackle a few health issues along the way.
Just bear in mind that cacao contains fat, meaning you must consider how much you should consume in your daily diet. If you think carefully about your portions and incorporate cacao into simple snacks like hot chocolate, yoghurt, and smoothies, you could be well on your way to accessing cacao’s long list of health benefits today!