Cacao, or chocolate as it is better known as today, is an ancient superfood that has been enjoyed by many for hundreds of years. Chocolate is a common and popular food, but many people regard it as candy, because most chocolate that’s found on shelves comes in the highly processed form with added ingredients such as processed sugar.
When chocolate is consumed in its highly processed, sugar-laden form, the healthful properties have been stripped away and it is no longer a healthy superfood, and therefore should be regarded as candy! Many of the negative things associated with chocolate such as weight gain, cavities, diabetes, or headaches are actually associated with the poorly processed sugar, fat and dairy that are added to the chocolate, rather than the chocolate itself. These toxic ingredients found in conventional chocolate can have a long list of possible health problems including:
Gut and digestion problems
However, real chocolate, aka cacao, in it's raw and unadulterated state is a very different food! In fact, it’s so healthy that it has been coined as the “food of the Gods” and is also referred to as a “superfood” due to its high nutrient value.
Unlike conventional chocolate, raw cacao has a number of health benefits. Raw cacao is one of the highest antioxidant containing foods on the planet. These antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals in the body; free radicals can cause a long list of problems ranging from aging to cancer. Because our bodies rely so heavily on antioxidants to maintain good health, the more of them we can get from food the better our health likely will be.
Cacao is also high in several vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, and chromium. In fact, cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium in the world, which is important because magnesium is said to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of the modern world. Magnesium is essential for muscle relaxation, bowel function, and for the heart and cardiovascular system.
Some other health benefits that can be seen from consuming high quality cacao includes:
Weight loss (because of its high chromium content)
Cavity prevention (from the theobromine in cacao, which kills the type of bacteria that causes tooth decay)
Blood sugar regulation (helping to prevent diabetes; also due to cacao's high chromium content)
Maintains a healthy and strong cardiovascular system (antioxidants in cacao help to dissolve plaque buildup in arteries, thus helping to lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease)
Improved cardiovascular health
Blood clot prevention
Youthful and clear skin
Lower blood pressure
Because there are many health benefits of cacao, regularly consuming it is a wonderful way to get vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants and other important substances that keeps the body strong and well. In fact, we like to think of high quality raw cacao as nature’s vitamin!
So, the goal is not to avoid chocolate, the goal is to eat MORE of the right kind of chocolate!