Everything you need to Know about Cacao
Do you love dark chocolate? If you do, then you're in luck because cacao is the main ingredient in chocolate. Not only does it taste delicious, but it's also great for your health! In this blog post, we will discuss all of the amazing health benefits that come with consuming pure organic cacao. We'll also talk about how to use it for sleep, energy, skin and period pain. So if you're interested in learning more about this powerful superfood, keep reading!
Cacao contains theobromine, a natural stimulant that can improve energy levels and alertness without the crash associated with caffeine. We've tested our beans and they have 0.22% caffeine content, which is less than a decaf coffee.
More and more people are becoming aware of how sensitive they are to the effects of caffeine and are searching for alternatives that still give them a boost. Cacao's gentle, energising properties make it a great option for those looking for energy without the jitters or crash.
We've mentioned the energising benefits of cacao, but it also has the ability to improve sleep because it contains tryptophan, a precursor to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Plus, Not to mention its magnesium content, which helps relax muscles and promote restful sleep. So next time you're feeling tired or having trouble sleeping, make yourself a cup of hot cacao instead of reaching for that afternoon cup of coffee or evening glass of wine.
Cacao is also rich in antioxidants, which can help improve the appearance of skin by reducing inflammation and protecting against free radicals. In fact, it's one of the highest foods on the ORAC scale, which measures the antioxidant levels in foods.
Healthy bowel movements? Cacao has your back (or should we say, your gut) thanks to its high fibre content. Nibbed's fibre content is 30%, making it a great addition to your diet for better digestion.
For period pain
For those suffering from period cramps or PMS symptoms, cacao contains anandamide (aka "the bliss molecule") that can help alleviate discomfort. The magnesium in cacao can also help to ease cramping during menstruation, while the antioxidants help to reduce inflammation. In addition, it contains high levels of plant based iron, zinc and magnesium – all essential nutrients for a healthy menstrual cycle and relief from period cramps.
Many women crave chocolate during their period, and now we know why: our bodies are actually telling us to consume more magnesium and iron, both found in cacao. So go ahead and fulfill those cravings by having a cosy, hot cacao drink. Because our pure organic cacao has no sugar at all (just pure stoneground beans), it's a great choice for period cravings. As much as we think we need that sugary, store-bought chocolate bar, our bodies will thank us for the more natural, nourishing option that pure cacao gives us.
Speaking of natural, cacao has been around for centuries and was even used in ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures as a ceremonial offering and drank for special occasions. It wasn't until the 19th century that cacao was mixed with sugar and other ingredients to make the chocolate bars we know today. So the original way to consume cacao was indeed a lot like the healthier version we promote at nibbed, simply mixed with hot water or milk - no sugar added!
How the Aztecs did it
The cacao beans were inspected for the best ones, then roasted and stone ground into a paste. The paste was then mixed with water, spices (such as chilli) and sometimes honey or cornmeal to create a thick, frothy drink. To make it frothy, the Aztecs didn't have a barista wand - they did it all by hand and poured the drink from one cup to another until it frothed on top.
Thankfully we have a lot more home comfort today - all you need is a whisk or blender or to froth hot milk, mix in your chopped cacao and enjoy the delicious chocolatey taste (without the sugar crash of your average hot chocolate). We even have the invention of oat milk to make your hot cacao a little naturally sweeter and creamier.
We have a bunch of recipes for how to make hot cacao, but here's a quick and easy go-to recipe for that healthy hot chocolatey fix.
- 20g chopped pure cacao
- 1 cup plant milk of your choice (we love oat)
- dash of cinnamon (optional)
- Put all the ingredients in a saucepan
- Heat on a medium heat (don't let it boil)
- Whisk it so the cacao blends in, and it froths up
- Pour into a mug, and enjoy the chocolatey goodness