8 Reasons We Love Cacao

8 Reasons We Love Cacao

Author -  Good Health


Just like chocolate, only healthier. When it comes to cacao, the options are truly endless. From smoothies, to raw slices, to hot chocolate, this list goes on. Some of our favourites include this Chocolate Berry Mud and these Cacao Brainy Bliss Balls. But there are plenty of Easter treats too – you can find our favourite recipes here. Plus I Quit Sugar has some great ideas here.

Cacao is one of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet, with 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. It’s bursting with flavonoids that help to protect you against inflammation, accelerated aging and cardiovascular disease.

With the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day, chocolate has been linked to romantic gestures for years. The Mayans were the first culture to do it. Cacao was used in a ritual beverage, which was shared between the couple during marriage ceremonies.

Containing serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine, cacao is a fantastic source of four scientifically proven happy chemicals. A good dose of these neurotransmitters can boost your warm fuzzies in no time.

The flavonoids in cacao help to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque build-up on the artery walls. All of these things help to protect your heart against disease.

We’ve spoken about how cacao’s feel good properties can help to improve your mood (particularly when it’s caused by a hormonal fluctuation), but what about those chocolate cravings you get? They aren’t coming out of nowhere. Often cravings signify a deficiency in a certain nutrient. Chocolate cravings can be indicative of a magnesium deficiency, so swapping out the chocolate bar in favour of a cacao treat (like this melt in your mouth dark chocolate) can help to satisfy the craving and boost your magnesium back up.

Cacao is also the highest plant-source of iron. Women lose iron when menstruating, which can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath and memory problems. Eating (or drinking) something with raw cacao in it will help to boost those iron levels back up.

Cacao trees are only found in tropical climates, 20 degrees north and south of the equator, so every time you enjoy a little raw cacao, it’s like taking your taste buds on a holiday.

The Mayans and Aztecs use cacao beans to create bitter, chocolatey drinks. Legend has it, Aztec Emperor, Montezuma said: “The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” The Emperor was on to something; cacao contains theobromine, phenylethylamine and small amounts of caffeine, which help to stimulate the central nervous system, improving mood and boosting energy levels. In fact, Montezuma drank a cacao drink 50 times per day because he was so convinced of its effects and we can’t say we blame him, though we’d recommend experimenting with different ways to consume it!

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