The word chocolate is a very familiar word in our vocabulary. The word Cacao on the other hand, not much so. The reason I wrote a blog on Chocolate was to explore my curiosity and weigh in on things like cramps and heart health… Well are these true? And if so, are there other benefits we should be familiar with.
Let’s start off with the Cacao fruit. I recently saw a picture of this fruit and was amazed. Amazed because In my 30 years of life I had never tried one or even seen one. I always heard that chocolate was made from cacao beans, but like coffee I never cared to learn more. The Theobroma cacao tree produces large pod like fruits that each contain 20 to 60 seeds or beans. The fruit itself is a sticky, sweet tart with white pulp.
This is the Theobroma Cacao tree they grow from 13-26 FT tall and are native to Central and South America…
This is the Cacao fruit itself… Inside the fruit are seeds (Beans) which is where chocolate is produced from…INCREDIBLE!!
So the question of the day? Is Cacao a superfood? The answer is YES!!
- Organic Raw Cacao has 40 times the antioxidant of Blueberries. That’s unreal!!!!
- Rich in Polyphenols which help with inflammation, blood flow & blood pressure.
- Cacao is one of the highest source of Iron in plants!
- Cacao is full of magnesium hence why its good for the heart and brain
- Cacao is high in calcium
And my favorite one of all, studies have shown Cacao to be anti-inflammatory with anti-tumor activities. And due to the high antioxidant count it can potentially have anti-cancer compounds, inhibits cell growth and prevents cancerous cells from spreading. Studies with animals as the subject with a rich diet of Cacao have seen positive results in reducing cancers such as Breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver, colon and leukemia.
And for that uneasy time of the month for females, yes there is a reason it helps with cramps. Magnesium helps relax aching muscles.
Cacao also contains neurotransmitters like dopamine the so-called “Bliss” chemical our brain produces when we are happy or in love! Hence the over commercialization of chocolate during Valentines day!
Ancient Aztec cultures believed that Cacao seeds were a gift from the God of wisdom. The seeds had so much value that they were even used as a currency. Originally the seeds were only used to prepare as a luxurious bitter drink mixed with spices and corn puree to give the drinker strength.
Like most plant substances much more research is needed, however there is enough to know that there are many benefits to be gained from this super food!
If you ate a cacao bean or seed, then you would realize it is bitter. Mainstream Chocolate brands like Kit-Kat, snickers, M&M’s and Almond joy are heavily processed with Sugar and other ingredients to disguise the bitter taste. Essentially there’s more of the bad and less of the good. Which means you may not be gaining all of the benefits mentioned above.
When looking for store bought chocolate here are some things to keep in mind when making your selection…
- Eat Dark chocolate (Confession time: used to hate dark chocolate because I grew up on milk chocolate ONLY!)
- Look for Organic
- The higher the Cacao content the better
- 70% Cacao is considered quality chocolate!
- Look for the sugar source in listed ingredients
- Clean chocolates often contain no more than 4-5 ingredients
There are so many great ways to implement Raw Cacao into your diet. Some of my favorite ways are…
- Cacao powder in smoothies and Bowls, baking, pancakes…YUM!
- Cacao Nibs mixed with nut butters, in smoothies, & Baked goods.
- Hot Chocolates
- Find favorite Chocolate bars high in Cacao content!
Check out my personal Favorite brand: HU Chocolates! They contain 70% Cacao Plus+ They have a variety of great flavors! Check out their site!
use code: YESENIA15 for a 15% discount! 😊
So does this mean that the more chocolate you consume, the more healthy you will be? Its key to remember that not all chocolates are created equally. As you enjoy your next chocolate bar you may be giving your body an advantage in protecting yourself or you may be overloading in sugars and giving your body a disadvantage. The simpler the ingredients the richer the nutrients!
Enjoy and eat chocolate responsibly!
Miss Rehab Ramdass
Disclaimer: Miss Rehab Ramdass website, blog, social media and videos should not be construed as medical or Nutritional advice. Content from this site and blog are not intended to be used as a medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical and nutritional advice.