What are the health benefits of cacao? Raw cacao powder packs a lot of antioxidants called flavonoids. And one of those health benefits is lowering the risk of heart disease. Research scientific studies have shown that flavonoid rich foods can lower your blood pressure and improve your blood vessels wall function.
Another health benefit is it can help improve your digestive health. It contains fiber and it can help create good bacteria in the gut. Some studies have shown cacao can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
What are the health benefits of cacao? Photo credit: iStock- Clara Murcia
Here are the nutrition facts of 2 teaspoons of cacao:
Total Fat- 12 grams
Saturated Fat- 7 grams
Trans Fat- 0 grams
Cholesterol- 0 mg
Sodium- 0 mg
Potassium- 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate- 6 grams
Dietary Fiber- 4 grams
Sugar- 1 gram
Protein- 2 grams
Raw cacao contains magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. It is important to know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding try to consume cacao in moderate portions. Eating too much of it can be toxic and harmful.
Raw cacao has been popularized as a superfood because of its high number of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Cacao is basically an unprocessed bean that is used to make chocolate. And frankly raw cacao is really a bean that is just in its uncooked and unprocessed state.
Raw cacao nibs have large doses of iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Magnesium provides energy production, nerve transmission, DNA synthesis, and insulin metabolism. This mineral does a great job of supporting the proper function of the brain, heart, and muscles.
According to a 2017 research review study cacao nibs contain a large dose of polyphenols. The antioxidants in this can reduce the risk and protect against heart disease, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
There was a 2015 clinical trial which was published in the American Journal of Clinical nutrition that documented the benefits of cacao nibs as a solid mental health food for the elderly. The compounds have been found to improve cognitive performance and reduce age related cognitive impairment.
Other studies have shown that it can help slow brain aging, support cardiovascular heart health, and increase cerebral blood flow. A 2014 review study that was featured in the Journal nutrients said that cocoa consumption increases lifespan and protects against heart disease.
“Raw cacao has been popularized as a superfood because of its high number of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike
The Bottom Line studies have shown there are tremendous health benefits to raw cacao if you consume it within moderation. It is considered a solid superfood that contains a high number of antioxidants and can help lower the risk of many chronic diseases.
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- Deborah Bauer, Joel Pimentel de Abreu, Hilana Salete Silva Oliveira, Aristoteles Goes-Neto, Maria Gabriela Bello Koblitz, Anderson Junger Teodoro, “Antioxidant Activity and Cytotoxicity Effect of Cocoa Beans Subjected to Different Processing Conditions in Human Lung Carcinoma Cells”, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2016, Article ID 7428515, 11 pages, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/7428515
- Nutrients- Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Polyphenols from Root, Tubercles and Grains Cropped in Brazil: Chemical and Nutritional Characterization and Their Effects on Human Health and Diseases (mdpi.com)
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- Neshatdoust, Sara et al. ‘High-flavonoid Intake Induces Cognitive Improvements Linked to Changes in Serum Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor: Two Randomised, Controlled Trials’. 1 Jan. 2016 : 81 – 93.