Cacao is a food that has been revered for centuries, and its health benefits are now being recognized by modern science. Cacao is the name given to the raw form of cocoa beans, which are used to make chocolate. It’s no wonder why cacao has been so beloved throughout history — it’s incredibly nutritious and packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
The origin of cacao dates back thousands of years ago in Central America where Mayan people cultivated the crop as a ritual offering or medicine. Cacao was then brought to Europe during the Spanish conquest in 1519 when it became popular among European royalty who appreciated its bitter taste and medicinal properties.
Today, most of the world's supply comes from West Africa and South America. Cacao contains flavonoid compounds such as catechins and epicatechins that act as powerful antioxidants in our bodies — this helps fight free radicals which can damage cells leading to disease development.
In addition, cacao also contains magnesium which helps regulate nerve signals; iron for healthy red blood cell production; polyphenols for cardiovascular protection; zinc for wound healing; copper for strong bones; manganese for energy production; potassium for muscle function.
Phosphorus for calcium absorption; selenium for thyroid hormone regulation; chromium for insulin sensitivity; tryptophan which aids serotonin synthesis (a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation); phenylethylamine or “the love drug” responsible for giving us those feel-good vibes!
Not only does cacao have an impressive nutrient profile but studies suggest that consuming dark chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa solids may be beneficial too due to its high content of polyphenols including procyanidin oligomers – these reduce inflammation within our body helping protect against chronic illnesses such as heart disease & diabetes type 2.
Studies also show that eating dark chocolate can improve cognitive function & memory recall while boosting mood - this could be because it triggers dopamine release within our brains making us experience pleasure.
Perhaps one of the best things about adding some cacao into your diet is how versatile it is - you don't just have to stick with plain old dark chocolate bars either! You can get creative by adding some chopped-up pieces on top of smoothie bowls, pancakes, oatmeal porridge, or yogurt parfaits.
Or if you're feeling extra adventurous why not try blending up some homemade hot chocolates using melted-down chunks mixed with almond milk?
And let's not forget about all those delicious cakes, cookies & brownies recipes out there. Not only will they satisfy your sweet tooth but they'll give you an antioxidant boost too.
So next time you're looking at ways to improve your health remember: don't forget about good ol' fashioned cacao! With its rich flavor profile coupled with numerous nutritional benefits, there isn't any reason why this superfood shouldn't become a regular part of your daily diet.
Cacao is a superfood that has been enjoyed for centuries, and its health benefits are widely known. From providing essential vitamins and minerals to improving cardiovascular health, cacao packs a powerful punch of nutrition.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the top 10 benefits of consuming cacao regularly.
1) Rich in Antioxidants: Cacao is rich in antioxidants which can help protect against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. These compounds have anti-aging properties and can help reduce inflammation throughout the body as well as protect against certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
2) Improves Heart Health: Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate made from raw cacao can improve blood flow to the heart, lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL), reduce the risk of stroke, and even possibly prevent diabetes.
3) Boosts Mood & Cognitive Performance: The flavonoids found in cacao boost serotonin production which helps regulate mood swings while also boosting cognitive performance due to increased alertness and focus.
4) High in Essential Vitamins & Minerals: Cacao contains high amounts of essential vitamins like vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium among others which all play an important role in maintaining good overall health.
5) Contains Healthy Fats: Raw cacao beans contain healthy fats like oleic acid which helps boost metabolism while also helping us feel fuller longer so we don’t overeat or snack on unhealthy foods between meals.
6) Natural Aphrodisiac: The natural chemicals found within raw cocoa beans have long been regarded as an aphrodisiac with some studies showing it increases sexual desire among both men and women alike.
7) Good Source Of Protein & Fiber: Eating just 2 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder provides 4 grams of protein along with 3 grams of dietary fiber – making it great for those looking to increase their daily intake without having to eat large quantities at once!
8) Boosts Immune System: Consuming small amounts of dark chocolate or drinking hot cocoa (made from pure organic ingredients!) regularly can help strengthen your immune system since these products contain polyphenols -which are natural antioxidants that fight off illnesses like colds/flu viruses etc. Plus they taste great too!
9) Helps Fight Depression: Cocoa contains tryptophan - an amino acid responsible for producing serotonin-the hormone associated with happiness; when consumed regularly it's believed to fight depression naturally instead of relying on medications alone...so enjoy some delicious dark chocolates now and then if you're feeling down.10) Enhances Athletic Performance: Last but certainly not least, eating quality chocolate before working out has been linked to improved athletic performance due to its stimulant effect plus it also provides energy during physical activities; so next time you hit the gym make sure your pre-workout snack includes some yummy chocolaty goodness.