Cacao has more antioxidants than green tea! These antioxidants protect cells from free radicals, and can prevent cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and may even treat PMS symptoms.
There is some caffeine found in cacao that stimulates the central nervous system, giving a burst of energy. It is also a diuretic.
Contains theobromine, a compound that may treat depression by stimulating the central nervous system, increases energy levels, and can be a very mild muscle relaxer.
Fiber in cacao can help with digestive issues.
Oleic acid (an essential fatty acid- heart healthy!) can help lower cholesterol, protect against free radicals, maintain brain and memory function, protect the cardiovascular system, and even protect and maintain skin integrity.
Magnesium, the amino acid tryptophan, neurotransmitter anandamide, and adrenal chemical phenylethylamine also help with brain function: focus, memory, and mood improvement.
Cacao also contains Vitamins E, A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, & B9.
How to Buy
Raw cacao nibs are the best when looking for quality nutritional value.
The quality of nutrients in cacao are taken out the more processing it goes through, so buy raw and organic.
Unroasted cacao powder and organic dark chocolate are also options, but do have a lower quality of nutrients from the cacao.
How to Use
Can be eaten raw in cereal, atop yogurt or oatmeal (known to be very bitter, so add some organic, raw honey to sweeten if necessary!).
Can be powdered and used in baked goods, raw desserts, teas, or added to milks (almond, cashew, cow to name a few) and smoothies.
Extracts can be used in baked goods.
Organic dark chocolate can be used in baked goods and desserts.
Do not consume if you have a chocolate allergy.
Too much cacao can overstimulate your central nervous system and cause headaches, jitters, and increased heart rate.
4-5 raw cacao nibs is sufficient- any more could cause aforementioned side effects.