Chocolate lovers, it’s time to celebrate. Cacao, which is the root of all chocolate, might just be the ultimate superfood. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all chocolate is created equal. The vast majority of commercial chocolate bars available come loaded in sugar, dairy, chemicals, pesticides, and zero nutrients.
And even unsweetened cocoa powder has been processed to the point of stripping cacao of many of its natural health benefits. So, if you’re looking for chocolate that’s full of mood-boosting, heart-healthy, and disease-fighting nutrients, organic raw cacao is the way to go.
Difference Between Cacao And Cocoa
The scientific name for cacao is Theobroma cacao, which literally translates as "food of the gods.” Enjoyed by the Mayan people over 4,000 years ago, cacao is the most natural and purest form of chocolate. But when it comes to cocoa, there’s a vast difference between the two. Yes, cocoa is a product of cacao beans. But once the processing begins, the health benefits are altered.
Cocoa powder is highly processed. It’s roasted at a much higher temperature and often supplemented with additives and sugar to cut the bitterness. And most chocolate you find in the store contains only a small percentage of cacao, with higher amounts of butter, sugar, and dairy.
Cacao powder, on the other hand, is only lightly processed, still maintaining all of its impressive nutrients.
Is Cacao Considered A Superfood?
The term “superfood” is given to foods with a high amount of nutrients and antioxidants that help keep the body healthy and better fend off disease. When combined with a well-balanced diet, superfoods like cacao can help you lose weight, reduce the signs of aging, promote cardiovascular health, and improve energy levels.
So, what gives cacao its superfood status? Polyphenol and flavanols. In fact, cacao is exceptionally rich in flavanols. Flavanols are plant-based antioxidants that naturally occur in red wine, tea, apples, and blueberries. But here’s the kicker: Cacao has more flavanols than any other fruits including blueberries. Cacao is also a great source of fiber and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Below are 7 incredible health benefits of cacao you might not know about.
7 Health Benefits Of Cacao
Supports Healthy Blood Sugar
Consistently high blood sugar could leave you feeling fatigued, weak, and headachy. Cacao contains the flavonoid epicatechin, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Several small studies in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspective suggest that cacao may reduce insulin resistance and slow the signs of type 2 diabetes.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Flavanols, the main type of flavonoid found in chocolate, have the potential to improve blood flow to the brain and heart, improve blood pressure, and help prevent blood clotting. But not just any chocolate, says the Cleveland Clinic. Commercial chocolate is so highly processed that flavanols are lost. Stick with cacao, instead.
Supports Positive Mood
Did you know that sipping on a beverage made with cacao creates a feeling of calm and contentment? That’s right. Cacao helps reduce stress and has a positive effect on mood. Cacao contains anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule”. This compound can single-handedly improve your mood.
Supports Natural Energy
If you generally lack energy throughout the day, cacao can give you that pickup you need. A study published in the journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found that MS patients who drank a cup of high-flavanol cocoa each day for six weeks experienced a significant improvement in fatigue.
Supports Weight Management
Cacao contains relatively high levels of fiber, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients help regulate metabolism and energy — while also helping you feel full. That’s why a traditional chocolate bar loaded in sugar and chemicals is linked to weight gain while cacao, without added sugar and additives, may actually help you reduce weight.
New research from Loma Linda University Health in California shows dark chocolate can change your brain wave frequency (gamma,) improving your memory. It seems the gamma frequency is enhanced with cacao’s antioxidants. The gamma frequency is the highest frequency linked to memory and recall. Just remember, the more cacao a bar contains, the more memory boosting antioxidants it has.
Fights Premature Aging
Thanks to polyphenol, cacao can help prevent premature aging. Polyphenol is found in green tea and red wine but in much smaller amounts. This antioxidant helps protect cells by preventing excessive amounts of cell oxidation. Meanwhile the high concentration of flavanols in cacao also helps reduce inflammation of the skin caused by too much UV light.
A Delicious, Healthy Way To Get Your Cacao Fix
By now you’ve likely realized that raw cacao is a healthy alternative to your average highly-processed commercial chocolate. But did you know that cacao comes in a delicious, creamy, decadent drink loaded with the best health-nourishing ingredients — and no sugar, pesticides or preservatives? Now you can get your chocolate fix without compromising your health.
Earth Echo’s Cacao Bliss starts with raw, “ceremonial grade” cacao, sourced directly from Peru. It’s gently fermented and sun-dried, but never roasted. The result is a decadent chocolatey superfood blend with all the incredible health benefits that’s healthier for recipes and healthier for sipping.*
Cacao Bliss also adds 10 powerful superfoods to the blend. Together they promote:
Increased natural energy*
Occasional anxiety and stress relief*
Healthy inflammatory response*
And so much more. Click the link below to satisfy your chocolate fix with Cacao Bliss and experience all of the health benefits cacao has to offer.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.