The Amazing Health Benefits of Cacao

The Amazing Health Benefits of Cacao

 

Cacao has millions of fans, and uses, around the world due to its delicious flavour and most popular form; chocolate. But did you know that Cacao also has an extensive list of health benefits? It comes from the seeds of Theobroma Cacao — also known as cacao beans, which go through an extensive production process to remove the majority of fats. 

Here are some of the wonderful health benefits cacao has to offer:

 

Rich in Polyphenols & Cognitive Function

Cacao powder is extremely rich in polyphenols and flavanols [1] — plant-based antioxidants similar to those found within green tea and red wine and studies show that these free radical fighters found in cacao, support a wide variety of health benefits. Boasting positive effects such as anti-inflammatory properties, improved cholesterol and blood pressure, increased blood flow, heart health, improved cognitive function, fatigue reduction and healthy blood sugar levels, cacao is the superfood of all superfoods [2]!  

Many polyphenol benefits are frequently associated with their function as antioxidants. These are also known as the free radical scavengers that assist in neutralizing free radicals within our bodies to help promote overall health. In addition, the flavonoids found within cacao have been shown to help improve various cognitive functions by increasing blood flow to specific nerve tissues. 

Stress Relief

Studies show that cacao can help improve your mood, reduce stress, anxiety and genuinely make you feel happier! Did you know cacao contains more calcium than cow’s milk and is rich in minerals like iron and magnesium? These are essential for regular nervous system functioning and psychological function. If that isn’t enough, raw cacao even contains serotonin producing tryptophan which is known as a natural mood stabilizer and creates a sense of euphoria. 

In addition to this, research has found that cacao can trigger the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, anandamide, phenylethylamine, tryptophan and endorphins. A healthy amount of these chemicals has been shown to ease depression, reduce stress and improve overall mental well-being. 

Cardiovascular Health

The heart is one of the most vital organs within our body and its function is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. Your circulatory system is responsible for the transportation of nutrients throughout your body and healthy blood flow is significantly important for your body to function properly. The Dutch Zutphen Elderly study showed that men who consumed higher levels of cacao over a 15-year period had significantly lower blood pressure compared to those who didn’t. 

In addition, further studies have shown that cacao can help improve blood flow, reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure as a result of improving nitric oxide levels found within the body.