Health Benefits of Drinking Cacao
Health benefits of pure cacao
We're just a little obsessed with the magical powers of Cacao!
It really is an amazing superfood, that we believe needs to be screamed and shouted about (and yes, we know we may be a little biased).
The ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures swore by its medicinal value, even considering it the 'Food of Gods'. The western world’s love affair with cacao beans has been for a comparatively shorter period, and more focused on the sugary avatar –chocolate.
The Mayan shamans may not have known the science behind the mood-enhancing powers of the seeds. However, scientists have unearthed a rich material of work that confirms Cacao’s Super Powers when it comes to the human body and brain.
So, you hear dark chocolate is good for the heart and reach for some. Before you bite into the delicious bar of dark, know this – chocolate and cacao are same same but different.
Is Cacao the same as Chocolate?
For most people, chocolate is synonymous with the commercial candy bar or the infamous chocolate chips.
As you may know, chocolate comes from cacao and cacao butter.
Many have never tasted chocolate in its natural and purest form. The taste (slightly bitter and nutty) of cacao is an acquired one for sure. The nutritional advantages are undeniable and sadly lost during the transformation process.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Consuming Cacao?
1. Helps to Improve Brian Power and Repair Cell Damage
Cacao is super high in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols called flavonoids. The anti-inflammatory ninjas of the nutrition world.
You’ve heard the term thrown around a lot and are probably wondering what the big deal with antioxidants is. Antioxidants in foods like cacao can help neutralise free radicals.
Okay! So what are free radicals?
They are molecules freely roaming in the body but have gone somewhat rogue. They can cause cell damage, AKA signs of ageing, and cause inflammatory health conditions we’ll talk about in a while.
These health ninjas act as brain boosters by improving the blood flow to the brain. You think clearer and faster on your feet. Flavonoids also play an important role in reducing cognitive decline and improving your short-term memory.
2. Boosts Energy
The cacao tree goes by the name Theobroma, and there is a not-so-super-secret behind it. The compound Theobromine – is a natural stimulant akin to caffeine.
Caffeine gives you an energy rush much like sugar before pulling the rug from under your feet. Theobromine, on the other hand, is a smooth operator without the jittery effects.
Caffeine affects the nervous system and causes that restless and anxious feeling many people experience. Theobromine affects your cardiovascular system (a big reason they call cacao a heart opener!).
Our cacao contains Theobromine. We’ve tested our cacao beans, and they have 0.22% caffeine content. That's less than a decaf coffee.
But if you're super sensitive to caffeine then we recommend you start on a very small dose of cacao or try cacao tea as it's a lot lighter.
Read our blog on why Cacao is a better alternative to coffee.
3. Helps to Stay Calm and Keep Stress Levels Down
Magnesium is the magic word here. This ultra-mineral supports over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Many of these revolve around the best use of energy by the body.
Magnesium acts as a hormone regulator, especially on stress-related ones like cortisol. By controlling its release, magnesium gives your nervous system and you some breathing space.
On one hand, cacao can help to energise and on the other hand, it can help you keep stress under control.
4. Promotes Gut Health
Plant foods are good reservoirs of dietary fibre and cacao is no different. The lack of fibre in your diet is what causes problems with the gut and digestive issues.
Cacao is another wonderful way to add much-needed fibre. Sit back and let your digestive enzymes and the gut’s good microbiome do the rest.
Cacao is also a great source of zinc and plant-based iron, essential for remaining healthy and active.
5. Calming And Mood Enhancing Effect
Relieving you from the effects of stress isn’t the only thing that cacao can help do. This nutrient reservoir contains numerous compounds that promote mental and emotional health.
What are these natural feel-good chemicals that can lift your mood and make you feel less anxious at work?
Flavanols and magnesium for one. Magnesium has a calming effect on your nervous system.
Then there is tryptophan which transforms into serotonin, the good mood hormone. Both chemicals are likely candidates in the fight against depression.
You have phenethylamine (PEA) or the love chemical which makes you feel one with the world. Finally, you have the bliss chemical Anandamide which gives you a sense of accomplishment (much like medicinal cannabis).
At Nibbed, we do slightly obsess over cacao and you know we have a good (or dozen more) reason for it!
Once you discover the benefits of cacao you’ll make it a part of your everyday diet.
Our pure and ethically sourced cacao is nutritious and healthy food. Have a cup of hot cacao each day.