Raw cacao, not to be confused for cocoa, is made by cold-pressing raw cacao beans ensuring that no nutrients are lost by heat treating. Unlike cocoa which has been roasted and heavily processed, raw cacao maintains its high nutritional profile making it a superfood loaded with flavonoids and magnesium.
Cacao is the perfect way to satisfy your cravings for chocolate without overloading your system with processed sugar. Load up on this superfood because there are 10 amazing health benefits of consuming raw cacao!
1. Combats Fatigue
If you are feeling especially exhausted after getting an adequate night’s rest, there is a chance that your magnesium levels are low. Thankfully, raw cacao is an incredibly delicious source of magnesium which will significantly boost your energy levels.
If getting up in the morning is not your thing and you need a little help in the energy department, try this Adaptogenic Chocolate Zucchini Smoothie, with three heaping tablespoons of raw cacao to get you moving!
2. Improves Mood and Balances Mood Swings
Cacao contains anandamide, sometimes referred to as the bliss molecule, which binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain creating a sense of ease and happiness. Not only will consuming cacao improve your well-being, but it will also combat mood swings by boosting serotonin levels in the brain.
Next time you are feeling down, or that your emotions are running rampant, try this Raw Truffles, to act as an emotional pick me up!
3. Makes your Skin Glow
Cacao is incredible for vibrant, healthy skin because it contains flavonoids that work to increase blood flow to the skin’s surface. This increased blood flow will promote cell regeneration which is necessary for glowing skin.
Throw yourself an at-home spa night when your skin is looking a little tired, with a DIY Raw Cacao Super Antioxidant Face Mask while snacking on a decadent chocolatey treat like this Healthy Copycat Snickers Bars.
4. Prevents Premature Aging
Not only does the consumption of raw cacao improve the quality of your skin, but it can also prevent premature aging. This is due to antioxidants in cacao which protect this cells from advanced destruction and help this skin feel healthy and youthful for longer!
5. Combats Tooth Decay
Researchers have been conducting tests that suggest a component in cacao beans called theobromine may be more effective at preventing cavities and protecting against tooth decay than fluoride. This is because these compounds have antibacterial agents. Those agents fight against plaque, while also successfully working to harden tooth enamel, lessening the chances of tooth decay.
Instead of ingesting potentially harmful fluoride, try nibbling on cacao nibs for strong, healthy teeth.
6. Improves Digestion
Rich in dietary fiber and magnesium, eating raw cacao on a regular basis will prevent constipation, and overall enhance your digestive health.
Try this Super Quick Chocolate Porridge loaded with fiber and nutrients to significantly improve your digestion.
7. Soothes Coughing Fits
A recent UK study performed by the British Lung Foundation discovered that the theobromine found in cacao beans was quite effective at treating persistent coughs. It has been hypothesized that the theobromine acts on the vagus nerve, a nerve responsible for coughing fits, and may work better than codeine.
Before reaching for a bottle of cough syrup next time you are under the weather, try a cup of Hot Chocolate made with nutrient-rich cacao and see if that does the trick!
8. Improves Cognitive Function
Flavanols get absorbed into the bloodstream when consuming cacao and accumulate in the hippocampus, the region responsible for memory and learning. These flavanols then work to form new neurons, while improving their functionality and protecting them from destruction by free radicals, increasing cognitive abilities.
Show your brain some love with this Brazil Nut Fudge, to increase cognitive function before a big test or presentation at work!
9. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Raw Superfood Chocolate/One Green Planet
High cholesterol levels can significantly increase the chances of developing heart disease, but thankfully raw cacao can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, and raise HDL, the good cholesterol. This is due to the extremely high quantities of antioxidants found in cacao which protect lipoproteins from oxidizing, or reacting with free radicals.
For a heart-healthy treat, you can feel good about eating, try this Raw Superfood Chocolate, pictured above.
10. Healthy Source of Fats
Chewy Caramel Fudge Brownie/One Green Planet
Contrary to what some weight loss programs may be telling you, you need healthy fats in your diet to stimulate chemical reactions responsible for immunity, growth, and a healthy metabolism. When consumed in its purest form, chocolate made from unprocessed cacao beans is an incredible source of healthy fats.
For more cacao recipes, we recommend downloading this Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image source: Giulian Frisoni/Flickr