What are the health benefits of cacao?

Ceremonial grade cacao

There is a reason cacao is considered a superfood. Since ancient times, cacao has been prized for its flavour and health benefits. Originally domesticated in South America about 5,000 years ago, cacao trees are now found in equatorial regions around the world. Cacao beans develop flavour and texture through fermentation before they are processed into cacao or cocoa powder.

Processors apply very high temperatures to the cacao beans for the smooth, sweet taste of cocoa powder, which is typically used in baked goods or hot cocoa. Compared to cacao powder, cocoa powder is less bitter and loses its nutritional value during processing. 

On the other hand, Ceremonial Grade Cacao is processed at low temperatures and then grounded. Ceremonial Grade Cacao crushed into a powder can be a much healthier alternative for recipes requiring cocoa powder as it retains more of the bean’s original nutritional value.

As raw ceremonial cacao is considered a superfood, it packs a range of health benefits. Superfoods are defined as foods rich in compounds such as essential vitamins, fibre, fatty acids, and antioxidants considered helpful to a person’s health. When incorporated into a well-balanced diet, superfoods fight disease, boost brain health and delay ageing. 

Cacao powder is loaded with these vitamins and nutrients:

  • fibre
  • protein
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • natural compounds are known to minimise anxiety and boost our moods
  • antioxidants
  • flavanols

Tribal Moon Ceremonial Grade Cacao is cold-pressed, raw cocoa beans that retain the living enzymes and nutritional value. You are not consuming raw cacao when you eat a store-bought chocolate bar, and we feel it’s worth looking for the good stuff when you can, given the health benefits of TM Cacao: 

High in antioxidants

Antioxidants fight the body from the free radicals. Cacao is rich in polyphenols, naturally occurring antioxidants. It is one of the highest ORAC scores, a measurement used to check the antioxidants levels in food. Antioxidants reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also prevents or slows damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are waste substances created by cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. Oxidative stress can happen if the body can’t process and get rid of the free radicals efficiently. It can harm cells and body function, possibly resulting in chronic diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, boosting overall health. 

Improves heart health 

Healthy blood flow is essential to heart health and all other bodily function. Our heart is responsible for transporting nutrients, water and oxygen to every cell in the body. It is done through a complex network of blood vessels, arteries and capillaries. We need healthy blood flow for the optimal function of our heart, brain, skin, and immune system. Cacao is rich in flavanols that are essential in maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels and supporting healthy blood flow. Flavanols help in cardiovascular health, the elasticity of arteries and healthy blood circulation. 

High in magnesium

Ceremonial Grade Cacao is loaded with magnesium that improves brain function and mood. Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, boosts athletic performance, fights depression, and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. The consumption of magnesium has been associated with boosting the immune system. Getting enough magnesium can prevent diseases including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also relieve menstrual cramps and menstrual tension. 

Helps manage anxiety and depression

The essential vitamins and minerals found in ceremonial cacao fight depression and help manage anxiety. Ceremonial cacao has the amino acid tryptophan. The body cannot produce this amino acid, so you must get it from your diet. Tryptophan is needed for the production and maintenance of the body’s proteins, muscles, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. It promotes feelings of relaxation, boosts mood and improve sleep. The body converts this amino acid to serotonin, the happy hormone. You may notice an improved mood and reduced anxiety when you regularly consume raw cacao. A study in chocolate consumption and stress levels conducted among pregnant women showed that more frequent consumption was connected to reduced stress and improved mood in babies. Raw cacao has theobromine that stimulates the heart, dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Theobromine gives you longer and softer energy without the peak and dip that caffeine produces. 

health benefits of cacao

Skin Health Benefits

The high levels of antioxidants in the body protect the skin against harmful elements and environmental stressors. You may see skin improvements when you consume raw cacao regularly. A London University study showed that regular consumption of chocolate rich in flavanols offers essential photoprotection that is needed at protecting human skin from harmful UV effects. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and poor circulation can affect the skin complexion. It can lead to dry and unhealthy-looking skin. Regular consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa can increase dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation, making the skin look supple and radiant. It also fights skin ageing and rejuvenates the skin. More so, raw cacao fights skin redness, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Rich in calcium 

We need calcium to build and maintain strong bones. It is also needed to maintain healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Calcium also plays a vital role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function. Raw cacao has more calcium than a glass of cow’s milk. Consider mixing raw cacao powder into your glass of milk for a calcium-rich drink loaded with nutrients. 

Lower the risk of stroke

Besides lowering blood pressure, raw cacao contains properties that may lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. The flavanol in cocoa boosts the level of nitric acid in the blood. As a result, it relaxes and dilates the arteries and blood vessels as well as promotes blood flow. Cocoa has been found to minimise “bad” LDL cholesterol and have a blood-thinning effect like aspirin. It improves blood sugars and reduces inflammation. Raw cacao has properties linked to lowering the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Studies show that frequent consumption of small amounts of raw cacao may have protective benefits for the heart. 

Improve Blood Flow to Your Brain and Brain Function

Studies show that polyphenols found in cacao may reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases. This is done by improving brain function and blood flow. Flavanols can influence the production of nitric oxide that relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels, improve blood flow and blood supply to the brain. A study conducted in 34 older adults found blood flow to the brain increased by 8% after one week of consumption. More so, separate studies suggest that daily consumption of cacao can improve mental performance in people with or without mental conditions. These studies show a positive effect of cocoa on brain health and great effects on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

The Bottomline

Raw cacao is a flavourful superfood that is associated with plenty of health benefits. It is loaded with vitamins and nutrients such as potassium, protein, chromium, zinc, iron, and antioxidants. Among its health benefits include improving heart health, bone function, brain health and skin health. Ceremonial cacao is also known for reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart attack, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It also decreases inflammation and is great in managing blood sugar and weight. It is a nutritious food that is easy to add to your diet.