Some of these are pretty amazing. They should call cacao a super food or something 😉
1. Raw cacao gives a rush of endorphins, relaxes muscles and boosts energy.
2. Raw cacao also contains high amounts of magnesium which relaxes your muscles. Magnesium also helps to protect against osteoporosis, reduces type II diabetes, and lowers blood pressure. Raw cacao powder (2tbsp) contains 52mg or 14% of daily value. Raw cacao nibs or beans per 100 grams contain 272 mg or 65% of daily value. The recommended RDA’s for Magnesium for a Male are 420mg and 320mg for a Female.
3. Cacao is also a source of iron, which builds the blood and helps to transport oxygen around our body, as well as potassium, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.
4. A recent study by London’s Kingston University on cyclists also found that chocolate can make you go faster and further. Consumption of a bar of DARK chocolate a day increased performance over a 2 minute sprint by 17%.
5. It is also thought that epicatechin, a plant chemical particularly abundant in dark chocolate, gives the body a boost by widening the blood vessels.
6. Studies have found that by adding dairy to cacao actually blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolate.
7. Cacao contains the mood improver, anandamide – known as the bliss molecule, which creates a feeling of euphoria.
8. Another mood-enhancing compound found in cacao is PEA or phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins and pleasurable opium-like neurochemicals. These often release naturally when we fall in love and during sexual activity.
9. Cacao boosts brain levels of serotonin, the feel good brain chemical. When women are experiencing PMS serotonin levels drop dramatically. The benefits of cacao are proven to boost the brain levels of calming hormones and restore feelings of well-being.
10. Flavanols – an anti-inflammatory and heart protective antioxidant found in raw cacao – some reports claim this may protect against cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of stroke, and help improve blood circulation.
11. Cacao contains over 700 compounds and the complex antioxidants found in it known as polyphenols have been said to help reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ and prevent hardening of the arteries.
12. The Department of Nutrition at University of California, Davis discovered that cacao thins blood and can prevent blood clots. This finding shows that eating raw cacao can be just as beneficial as taking an aspirin a day.
13. Drinking a cup of hot cacao before meals can help you shed fat. This is due to cacao’s MAO inhibitors, which shrink appetite. MAO inhibitors are often found in weight loss products. However cacao’s unique MAO’s allow more serotonin to circulate in the brain. Don’t consume more than 40 grams or four heaped teaspoons of cacao daily.
14. Not getting enough antioxidants in your diet can have dangerous long-term health consequences. A Swiss 2009 study found that in just under two weeks cacao reduced the stress hormone cortisol, improved metabolism, and even improved gut microbial activity.
15. A recent study by London scientists found participants who ate 20 grams of cacao for 12 weeks were able to stay in the sun for twice as long as those who didn’t, without getting sunburned.
16. In 2006 the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cacao with at least 326 mg of flavanols a day had better skin texture, improved microcirculation, increased oxygen saturation, and improved skin hydration than those didn’t. Stir some cacao powder in your cup of coffee or add to a smoothie.
17. German scientists found that cacao may protect against harmful UV rays that cause cancer.
18. Recent studies from Tulane University discovered that an extract of cocoa powder was even more effective than fluoride in preventing cavities. This crystalline extract similar to caffeine helps harden teeth enamel.
19. Theobromine found in cacao was found to halt coughs better than codeine or commercial cough suppressants with the equivalent of two cups. In fact the UK based study by the British Lung Foundation discovered codeine was only slightly more effective than the placebo at preventing coughing with no side effects.
20. Improves cognitive function and prevents Alzheimer’s – A Harvard study by Dr. Gary Small, showed that middle-aged people who drank two cups of cacao a day had improved memory and increased blood flow to the brain.