I mean, who doesn’t live a little chocolate! Cacao is a type of tropical tree, part of the evergreen family, that produces the world’s chocolate in raw form, before all that lovely fat, sugar, and other “sweeteners” are added. The cacao tree grows in a few specific regions of the world naturally, including Mexico and South America, where most of the cacao or chocolate beans/seeds come from. Cacao trees only grow in tropical areas with the right combination of climate, temperature, and environment factors. You can’t just plant a cacao tree anywhere – it won’t grow or survive in the wrong conditions.
Cacao And Antioxidants:
Cacao is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that make it almost a super food or natural Multi-Vitamin! The beneficial ingredients found in the cacao nibs (raw chocolate) are Antioxidants, Theobromine, Phenylethylamine, Essential Minerals and Vitamins.
One of the main health benefits of chocolate is its high concentration of antioxidants. Although processed chocolate still has a good concentration of antioxidants – the processing and cutting (adding new ingredients and mixing them together) of the raw cacao seed tends to lower that amount. If you want the best hardcore antioxidant power of cacao beans/seeds, then you will want to get it in its natural raw state – nothing added, nothing taken away.
Effect On Neurotransmitters:
Raw cacao promotes the release of neurotransmitters, which promote a positive outlook and bodily rejuvenation, and release feel-good hormones. Raw cacao raises levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and acts as an anti-depressant that can help reduce symptoms of PMS. It also stimulates the secretion of endorphins, which produce a pleasurable sensation, and phenylethylamine which is a mild mood booster. It also releases anandamide which promotes elation and helps us feel good longer.
Dietary Fiber Content:
Cacao may help to keep your bowel movements regular. A 1-ounce serving of raw cacao nibs contains 36 percent of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, or 9 grams. Adding as little as 6.6 grams of cacao fiber per day to your diet may improve your bowel habits, according to a clinical study appearing in “Nutrition and Metabolism.” Subjects in this study were given cocoa powder supplemented with high-fiber cocoa bran in a semi-skimmed milk drink twice daily for two four-week periods, separated by a three-week period in which cocoa was not consumed. The frequency of bowel movements increased and feelings of constipation decreased during the periods when cocoa powder was consumed.
Cacao effect on blood pressure and glucose:
The fiber and polyphenols in cacao may work together to help control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels, as suggested by a recent clinical study in “Food and Function.” Blood pressure and blood glucose were lowered by a cocoa-fiber-rich product providing 12
grams of dietary fiber and 283 milligrams of polyphenols per day during the eight-week study period. At least part of the beneficial effect of cacao on your blood sugar level may be due to slowing of starch digestive enzymes by polyphenol procyanidins in your small intestine.
Many people consider eating chocolate a “guilty pleasure.” But the reputation of chocolate as a junk food should more accurately be attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added, most notably white sugar. All chocolate is made from the cacao (cocoa) bean, and cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and can be beneficial to your health.
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