Cacao

cacao treeDid you know that chocolate not only tastes amazing, but it provides some pretty outstanding benefits too? From anti-anging to feelings of elation, chocolate is proving to be a health food that’s truly exceptional for the mind and body.

Cacao, otherwise known as chocolate, has an unusually high antioxidant value which helps guard against free radical damage—one of the primary accelerators of the aging process. It’s great for the heart, too. Cacao can help lower high blood pressure by keeping the vessels open, heart relaxed, and blood flowing easily. Loaded with bioavailable magnesium, cacao offers major benefits to women, especially during their monthly cycle when magnesium levels can plummet. Cacao keeps things flowing; it stimulates peristalsis in the colon, which can help support regularity and relieve constipation. And yes, it has been shown to aid in weight loss due to its nutritional potency, appetite-suppressing and mood-enhancing effects. It is truly a superfood, boasting omega 6 fatty acids, important vitamins (such as vitamin C), minerals, fiber and nutrients that the body craves.

HOW TO ENJOY CACAO?

There are many ways to incorporate this spectacular superfood into your diet. It can easily be blended into smoothies, shakes, or nut milks. You can make ice creams, fudges, puddings, molded chocolates, or barks. There are even recipes for using cacao in savory dishes. You can keep things simple by eating cacao straight, using it as a garnish, adding it to a trail mix, or dipping it in nut butter.

RAW IS ALWAYS BEST:

Cacao is actually the whole food that chocolate is made of, and to obtain its many benefits, it is best eaten in its raw form (never heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit); this will ensure that it maintains its potency and effectiveness. Due to the damage caused from heat, when cacao beans are roasted to produce chocolate, the benefits decrease. Having recently gained popularity, resulting in an increased demand, you can now buy high-quality, raw cacao as whole beans, nibs (crushed up beans), paste, powder, and butter. Cacao combines well with many flavors, including vanilla, green powders, honey, maca, goji berries, cinnamon, turmeric, chilies, mint, lavender, coconut, and cayenne.

CHOCOLATE = BLISS:

Cacao is widely known for its aphrodisiac effects on both men and women. Not to mention its anti-depressant and stress-reducing qualities, plus the PEA (love chemical, found in the brains of people in love), anandamide (a neurotransmitter—bliss chemical), tryptophan (an essential amino acid), and serotonin it contains. Put simply, cacao makes you feel good!

By Lauren Amerson

 

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