What would you rather do?
Take an aspirin a day or eat cacao powder? The Department of Nutrition at University of California recently discovered that eating raw cacao powder once a day has the same effect as taking an aspirin.
Just like aspirin, cacao thins the blood and can prevent blood clots.
That’s not all that cacao can do for your health.
Hailed as a superfood, cacao powder is easily the most delicious way to maintain your health.
Here are eleven benefits of eating cacao powder you probably didn’t know:
1 Biggest Source of Antioxidants
More than green tea and red wine, the levels of antioxidants are higher than any other food. Intake of cacao and other antioxidant rich foods can fight free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are waste products in our cells. Antioxidants get rid of them before they can cause damage.
2 Reduce Blood Pressure
Cacao has a high amount of flavanols, which is an anti-inflammatory and heart protective antioxidant. Dropping your blood pressure with cacao reduces the risk of stroke and improves blood circulation.
3 Controlling Cholesterol
Cacao contains hundreds of compounds that together create polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help reduce bad cholesterol. At the same time it raises the level of good cholesterol in the arteries.
4 Reduce the Level of Triglycerides
A high level of triglycerides in the body can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The body needs triglycerides to store energy in the cells, but these days many people can’t burn off this energy which results in obesity related diseases. Eating cacao can reduce the level, helping to prevent these diseases.
5 Treat Diabetes Effectively
In addition to reducing the triglycerides which can lead to obesity and diabetes, raw cacao also has a hypoglycemic effect which affect the regulation of sugar in the blood stream.
People who already have diabetes can help regulate their insulin resistance by eating cacao.
6 Effective for Weight Loss
Raw cacao is a natural appetite suppressant, which can help keep from overeating and maintain a healthy weight.
Cacao nibs are high in fiber which helps keep you feeling full and also aids in staying regular.
We should note, however that we are talking about raw cacao and not processed chocolate. Though it would be nice if eating chocolate could help to lose weight, it has too much sugar and fat to do so.
7 Combat Depression
Raw cacao contains PEA or phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins and opium-like neurochemicals. These are the same chemicals that are released in the brain when we fall in love.
In addition, cacao has a flavanol called anandamide that is effective as mood enhancer. This flavanol is also called the bliss molecule which can keep us in a state of euphoria.
When a bout of depression seems to be creeping up, a daily dose of raw cacao can keep it at bay.
8 Natural Treatment of Anemia
Cacao has the highest plant based source of iron. Cacao has 7.3 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. Compare that to beef at 2.6mg and spinach at 3.7mg. Maybe Popeye should have been eating cacao instead of spinach!
People with anemia due to iron deficiency can get much of the iron necessary by eating raw cacao daily. The improved blood circulation also helps benefit people with anemia.
9 Fight Fatigue
Magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in a modern diet. Without it, it is hard to keep the brain focused.
To beat this, cacao has a high amount of magnesium that keeps the brain sharp and reduce fatigue. Forget about coffee when needing to do an all nighter, it’s better to eat some raw cacao.
10 Good for Skin Health
The high levels of antioxidants can help regenerate skin cells and reduce the effects of aging. These same antioxidants protect the cells from premature oxidation and help us feel younger, in addition to looking younger.
Cacao also has properties that prevent UV rays from damaging the skin. In fact, studies show that eating cacao can allow longer sun exposure before getting sunburnt than when it isn’t eaten.
An increase in blood circulation also improves the look of your skin and help keep it looking flush and hydrated.
11 Reduce Effects of PMS
The mood enhancing features of raw cacao can help reduce the mood swings of PMS. the levels of magnesium, sulfur, potassium, iron, Vitamin C, zinc, copper, and even some B vitamins all make it a healthy way to keep the body in balance during this period with high hormonal fluctuations.
An increase in blood circulation and the anti inflammatory properties also help reduce bloating associated with PMS.
It has already been mentioned, but it bears repeating, that eating milk chocolate or other processed chocolate bars is not going to give the same benefits listed here.
To enjoy cacao as a superfood, it should be eaten raw and unprocessed in the form of cacao nibs, cacao paste, cacao butter or cacao powder.
Add cacao in any of these forms to your favorite food and enjoy the delicious taste, texture and health benefits in one exquisite package!