Difference between raw cacao and dark chocolate (and raw cocoa): No added sugars: Dark chocolate usually has added sugars (read the label) and milks so typically not dairy free. The avocado is an incredibly healthy food and loaded with important nutrients. Therefore, even though this is an interesting area of development, it’s too early to say how cocoa may be used in treating asthma. Cacao packs in more calcium than cow’s milk. They have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation, better blood flow, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels (1). Many studies have proven that raw cocoa is able to control the blood pressure level due to the antioxidant contained in cocoa which promotes the production of nitric axide. (14). Cocoa is thought to have first been used by the Maya civilization of Central America. This article looks at 13 foods that may lower your risk of…, Mayo is a popular condiment for sandwiches and often used as a base for salad dressings and sauces. It is actually loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. Cocoa contains a variety of chemicals, including antioxidants called flavonoids. This article lists 13 foods that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This simple 3-step plan can help you lose weight fast. Here are a dozen great excuses to add more of it to your diet! Unlike processed cocoa powder and regular old chocolate bars, raw cacao is not exposed to the high temperatures that diminish many of its unique health benefits. Furthermore, another study discovered that drinking high-polyphenol cocoa improved calmness and contentment (12). But, it’s important to understand that you don’t get all of the health benefits I’m going to talk about here with that type of cocoa! It’s a well … Carbs: 8 grams, Nutritional facts for 3 Tbsp raw cacao nibs (2), Calories: 190 Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants found in foods like fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate and wine. It’s also often treated with alkaline to reduce bitterness, which results in a 60% decrease in flavanol content (1). If you liked that article, you'll absolutely LOVE our daily newsletter -- with more recipes, workouts, and tips and tricks to be the healthiest version of yourself. These chemical reactions in the body are responsible for regulating blood pressure, nerve functioning, blood sugar, and more. Here are eight amazing benefits of eating raw cacao. Studies done on rats found that the flavonoids present in chocolate can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while human studies discovered that raw cacao reduces the risk of stroke. Raw Organic Cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Raw Organic Fairly Traded Cacao in contrast has bountiful benefits, so you can add it to your diet with no guilt, just good old chocolatey deliciousness. Cacao is hands down one of my favorite superfoods because well… chocolate. Lowered Risk of Diabetes. Many foods contain beneficial compounds that could help decrease the growth of cancer. (4) Studies show that these antioxidants may help reduce the risk of vascular disease. (7), Regular raw cacao consumption is linked to improved insulin sensitivity, thus reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Animal studies using a cocoa-rich diet or cocoa extracts have seen positive results in reducing breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver and colon cancer, as well as leukemia (32). Giving up sugar was easier than I thought, and I felt better than ever, so I just kept going and going. However, these findings have not yet been clinically tested in humans, and it’s unclear if cocoa is safe to use with other anti-asthmatic drugs. Overall, it’s important to select cocoa sources that have a high flavanol content — the less processed, the better. The much-touted nutritional benefits or raw cacao range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function to alleviating stress. 40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries. And you'll receive all the many benefits of cacao, from a gentle energy boost to the high mineral content to the compounds that beneficially affect your state of mind. Test-tube studies on components of cocoa have found that they have antioxidant effects, protect cells against damage from reactive molecules, fight inflammation, inhibit cell growth, induce cancer cell death and help prevent the spread of cancer cells (32, 33). It can improve insulin sensitivity and lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). The take-home message here is to enjoy your chocolate! Cocoa contains many compounds that have antibacterial, anti-enzymatic and immune-stimulating properties that may contribute to its oral health effects. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthy alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods. However, make sure to use non-alkalized cocoa powder or dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa if you want to maximize health benefits. The health benefits of cacao powder and dark chocolate have been linked to keeping your heart healthy, lifting your mood, preventing cancer, and even helping to lose weight. However, other studies have found that chocolate consumption increases weight. Raw cacao is very bitter in taste so it is often paired with large amounts of sugar. Almost four years ago I quit sugar. Here are the 9 best nondairy milks. Some days you just need to find your bliss – cacao is one of the healthiest … Despite these promising results, there are inconsistencies in the research with some studies finding only a limited effect, slightly worse control of diabetes or no effect at all (22, 24, 25). 5 Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao. These results suggest that frequent consumption of small amounts of cocoa-rich chocolate may have protective benefits for your heart. These studies indicate a positive role of cocoa on brain health and possible positive effects on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Real, organic, raw cacao is a superfood containing a variety of unique phytonutrients, including high amounts of flavonoids, sulfur, magnesium and phenylethylamine. Cacao comes from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree– this is chocolate in its purest form. 1. Here are 11 health and nutrition benefits of cocoa powder. A review of nine studies in 157,809 people found that higher chocolate consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of heart disease, stroke and death (9). Paleo Diet Recipes, Information, and Tips. One study on chocolate consumption and stress levels in pregnant women found that more frequent intake of chocolate was associated with reduced stress and improved mood in babies (20). (6) Other studies link the flavonoid content in cacao to better attention, higher processing speed, and stronger working memory. You can improve your brain health with the right diet. Cocoa and chocolate also come from cacao beans. It contains roasted cocoa, along with milk, sugar, and other ingredients. Snack on a square of pure dark chocolate as an after-dinner treat or with your morning cup of coffee. Further studies suggest that daily intake of cocoa flavanols can improve mental performance in people with and without mental impairments (15, 16, 17). Cacao, thanks to its high phytonutrient content, is considered one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world (7). Yet, many of them did not differentiate between the type of chocolate consumed — white and milk chocolate do not have the same benefits as dark (30, 31). You only get these amazing benefits from raw cacao, the cacao nib, which is kept raw … The cacao tree produces seeds that can be dried, dehulled, roasted and minimally processed into what is essentially raw chocolate, also called raw cacao nibs. Cacao is a powder made from the raw beans of the cacao plant, whose botanical name is Theobroma cacao. The flavanols in cocoa are thought to improve nitric oxide levels in the blood, which can enhance the function of your blood vessels and reduce blood pressure (2, 3). With its high level of antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, cacao may be able to protect cells against this damage. For example, unroasted cacao contains caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants. If you’re concerned about your heart health, raw cacao boasts some impressive cardiovascular health benefits. However, this superfood holds powerful benefits and can be made part of a healthy diet. (Read This Next: Cacao vs Cocoa – The Difference and Why It Matters), Category: HealthTag: antioxidants nutrition wellness. Additionally, a review of human studies showed that eating flavanol-rich dark chocolate or cocoa can reduce insulin sensitivity, improve blood sugar control and reduce inflammation in diabetic and nondiabetic people (22). if(typeof(dataLayer) === 'object'){ A natural mood booster and antidepressant. border: 1px solid #e5e597; © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company.   The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. Raw cacao also contains an abundance of minerals, including iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc and potassium. A two-week study in 34 older adults given high-flavanol cocoa found blood flow to the brain increased by 8% after one week and 10% after two weeks (14). Fat: 1.5 grams It’s thought that cocoa may be beneficial for people with asthma, as it contains anti-asthmatic compounds, such as theobromine and theophylline. Our hearts and particularly our blood flow aren't always the first things on our … 43). It’s thought that cocoa may help by regulating the use of energy, reducing appetite and inflammation and increasing fat oxidation and feelings of fullness (26, 27). Green Tea, for example, is rich in antioxidants. Absolutely YES. We’re pretty sure you love chocolatey drinks and treats just as much as we do. Think of real chocolate as an all-natural multivitamin! (13), Chocolate’s strong antioxidant content provides yet another health benefit, and this one has to do with its ability to fight premature aging. Cacao is what you get when the beans are processed at low temperatures and are considered raw. }. These properties have been linked to a lower risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke (1, 5, 7, 8). Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes obstruction and inflammation of the airways and can be life-threatening (38, 39). Cacao vs Cocoa – The Difference and Why It Matters, 'Whatever Floats Your Boat' Raw Cacao Energy Bars, 5 Easy, Effortless Ways to Live and Eat Healthier, 17 Tasty Ways to Eat Turmeric for Dessert, The 12 Best Low Carb Vegetables and Their Benefits, The 7 Best Natural Substitutes for White Sugar, The Easy Guide to Baking with Gluten-Free Flours, Sprinkle raw cacao nibs over dairy-free chia pudding or coconut milk yogurt, Add a scoop of raw unsweetened cacao powder to smoothies, Enjoy it straight! Some studies have shown that a higher intake of flavanols, including those from cocoa, can result in a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (22, 23). Several studies have found that polyphenols, such as those in cocoa, may reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving brain function and blood flow. It’s the equivalent of deep frying broccoli, and as such the general consensus on cacao is often skewed. There’s no doubting that chocolate is delicious. When you choose raw cacao, the live enzymes are still present, making it a much healthier choice. Blood Pressure. Health benefits of cocoa include decreased inflammation, improved heart and brain health, blood sugar and weight control and healthy teeth and skin. One review analyzed 35 experiments that provided patients with 0.05–3.7 ounces (1.4–105 grams) of cocoa products, or roughly 30–1,218 mg of flavanols. Small human studies on cocoa and cancer suggest that it can be a powerful antioxidant and may play a role in cancer prevention. The positive effects on mood may be due to cocoa’s flavanols, the conversion of tryptophan to the natural mood stabilizer serotonin, its caffeine content or simply the sensory pleasure of eating chocolate (12, 18, 19). Get Happy With Cacao. Several studies have explored the protective effects of cocoa against dental cavities and gum disease. Raw cacao beans are loaded with antioxidants, which fight off free radicals caused by stress, environmental toxins, or even poor lifestyle habits. The European Food Safety Authority recommends 0.1 ounces (2.5 grams) of high-flavanol cocoa powder or 0.4 ounces (10 grams) of high-flavanol dark chocolate containing at least 200 mg of flavanols per day to achieve heart health benefits (44). If coffee isn’t your thing, or it makes you too jittery, try adding a sprinkle or two of raw cacao to your morning cup of coconut yogurt or smoothie for an added energy boost. Diet plays a major role in heart health. Click here to get your FREE Coffee Book Today! Long-term ingestion of cocoa has been shown to contribute to sun protection, skin blood circulation and improve the surface texture and hydration of your skin (41, 42. Many experts recommend extra dark chocolate for the ketogenic diet. Theophylline helps your lungs dilate, your airways relax and decreases inflammation (39). Studies find that chocolate can positively affect your mood as it releases feel-good endorphins in the body. Real Benefits of Raw Cacao: Cocoa versus Cacao. The good news is that raw cacao happens to be an excellent source. A superfood, raw cacao is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other good-for-you stuff. It’s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Our cacao has a 1.1:1 fats to protein+carbs ratio, so it won't knock you out of ketosis. Cacao is a superfood often manufactured into a junk food. Cacao contains abundant protein, calcium, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. 1. Overall, it appears that cocoa and cocoa-rich products may be helpful in achieving weight loss or maintaining weight, but further studies are needed. He must have eaten some too, hence all the energy he had to climb that giant beanstalk! Yes, 40 times! Fat: 14 grams If Jack used magic beans to grow his beanstalk, they must have been Raw Cacao beans! Cocoa has the highest concentration of flavanols out of all foods per weight and can significantly contribute to their amount in your diet (32). A UK research study found that theobromine, found in raw cacao, reduces a chronic cough by acting on sensory nerve endings. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and may help with persistent coughing. However, more research is needed. Additionally, the effect was greater in people who already had high blood pressure than those without it and in older people compared to younger people (3). Eat these 11 foods to boost your memory and focus, help prevent disease and keep sharp as you…. In addition to lowering blood pressure, it appears … Some studies indicate that theobromine may help with coughs – although this is medicinal theobromine. However, much more research is needed (37). Be sure to look at the ingredient list and choose a product that only contains raw cacao. Test-tube studies indicate that cocoa flavanols can slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the gut, improve insulin secretion, reduce inflammation and stimulate the uptake of sugar out of the blood into the muscle (22). (3) Try eating a little raw cacao every day to help naturally reduce your inflammatory load. Like us on Facebook for delicious recipes and a lot more! If you’re feeling fatigued lately, the caffeine in raw cacao might give you the boost that you need. Cocoa is the byproduct of processing cacao beans by roasting them at high temps, then pressing them to remove the cacao … Seriously, you're the best. One serving of raw cacao powder (2.5 tablespoons) contains. It found that cocoa produced a small but significant reduction of 2 mmHg in blood pressure. Cocoa powder is made by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fat or cocoa butter. Somewhat paradoxically, cocoa intake, even in the form of chocolate, may help you control your weight. Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women's health. dataLayer.push({'eventCategory': 'leadbox', 'eventAction':'show', 'eventLabel':'Coffee Lead Magnet', 'nonInteraction':'Yes'}); Additionally, a study in senior men showed that eating chocolate was linked to improved overall health and better psychological well-being (21). Read about the 3-step plan, along with other science-backed weight loss tips, here. Researchers found that the flavonoids in chocolate with at least 70% or more cacao, helped to reduce stress levels. There are hundreds of different types of dark chocolate. In addition to lowering blood pressure, it appears that cocoa has other properties that may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke (1, 4, 5). Raw Cacao not only tastes delicious, but there are so many amazing benefits that come along with it. (12), If you’re at risk of anemia, chocolate might help get your iron levels up. Let’s dive in. So, what exactly is raw cacao and what makes it better than just snacking on regular chocolate? Raw cacao is also a great source of B vitamins which are essential for energy and boasts plenty of zinc to help the immune system. Cocoa, both in its powdered form and in the form of dark chocolate, may be able to help lower blood pressure (2). Iron is essential for supporting blood health and energy levels, and it plays a crucial role in oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. Raw Cacao is one of the most pharmacologically complex foods Nature has to offer us — with over 1200 chemical constituents — it is the definition of a Super Food. Here are 12 health benefits of avocado, that are supported by science. If you’re concerned about your cognitive functioning, you might want to keep some raw cacao on hand. I become a number 1 fan of this natural healthy chocolate not just for the taste either. Flavanols can cross the blood-brain barrier and are involved in the biochemical pathways that produce neurons and important molecules for the function of your brain. However, the evidence for cocoa specifically is conflicting, as some trials have found no benefit and some have even noticed an increased risk (34, 35, 36). Need some inspiration for how to eat cacao? While the results of these early studies are promising, more research on the effect of cocoa on mood and depression is needed before more definite conclusions can be drawn. Raw organic cacao offers neuron protection and enhances cognition and positive mood. What started out as just a new year experiment became something more. Raw cacao nibs have been linked to lower blood pressure, healthier cardiovascular system function, a reduced risk of stroke, and improved digestion . Oh yeah, and when you sign up, we'll also give you some neat free bonuses like our Paleo for Beginners guide, with 15 extra delicious recipes! It is not clear how these might work in the body, but they appear to cause relaxation of veins. As a result, new products will need to be developed to experience the oral health benefits of cocoa. Believe it or not, cacao nibs are one of the best sources of polyphenols and have more antioxidant activity than tea, wine, blueberries and even goji berries. Nutritional facts for 2.5 Tbsp raw cacao powder (1), Calories: 60 Eat these 15 heart-healthy foods to keep your heart in top condition. So while cocoa is a great source of polyphenols, not all products containing cocoa will provide the same benefits. Protein: 4 grams When you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you may not be able to make enough of these blood cells, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. We can all use less stress in our lives and raw cacao may be just the trick to help take the edge off. Cocoa powder contains about 1.9 grams of this compound per 100 grams or 3.75 ounces (38, 39, 40). One of the hardest things, though, was finding healthy alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth. (15) The next time you’re facing an annoying cough that just won’t go away, make yourself a warm mug of hot chocolate with raw cacao to stop it at its source. Studies in humans have shown that flavanol-rich diets are associated with a decrease in cancer risk. Some foods, like kale, green tea, and certain nuts and seeds, pack nutrient loads that punch well above their weight. Nutritional Value and Reputed Benefits of Raw Chocolate in Raw Culture . (5) That endorphin boost might be just what your sour mood needs. We’ve got some great ideas for you here: Remember that all of the health benefits you find in chocolate come from raw cacao, so you want to make sure you are getting a high-quality product. However, processing and heating cocoa can cause it to lose its beneficial properties. Flavanols in fruits, vegetables and other foods have attracted a great deal of interest due to their cancer-protective properties, low toxicity and few adverse side effects. This helps to reduce inflammation in the body, preventing chronic disease. It’s teeming with nutrition When you eat raw cacao, you’re treating your body to a range of B-vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and protein. Chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease. Fun ways to add cocoa to your diet include: Cocoa has captivated the world for thousands of years and is a big part of modern cuisine in the form of chocolate. It also reduces inflammation. This effect was first noted in the cocoa-drinking island people of Central America, who had much lower blood pressure than their non-cocoa-drinking mainland relatives (3). Supports Brain Health. This article reviews whether mayo is safe when…. The exact amount of cocoa you should include in your diet to achieve health benefits is not clear. Regula… Read this guide to find the best types of dark chocolate to buy, as well as which to avoid. In addition to cocoa’s positive impact on age-related mental degeneration, its effect on the brain may also improve mood and symptoms of depression (2). Aside from the fact that eating chocolate makes us happy simply because it tastes so good, there may actually be some valid reasons to reach for some chocolate on a bad day. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. (10), Did you know that magnesium is needed for at least 300 different enzyme systems? What’s more, cocoa has been found to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, have a blood thinning effect similar to aspirin, improve blood sugars and reduce inflammation (2, 4, 6). When we age, we tend to lose elasticity in our skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging. However, it’s important to remember that processing significantly reduces the number of flavanols, so the effects most likely will not be seen from the average chocolate bar. It was introduced to Europe by Spanish conquerors in the 16th century and quickly became popular as a health-promoting medicine. Cocoa products like cacao nibs have been linked to reduced heart disease and diabetes risk, as well as other health benefits. A population study found that people who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than people who ate it less often, despite the former group also eating more calories and fat (28). Raw cacao powder shouldn’t be confused with cocoa powder – which is a highly processed form of cacao. (11) Many of us don’t get enough magnesium from our diet, and raw cacao happens to be one of nature’s biggest sources of magnesium. However, there are no significant human studies, and the majority of cocoa products consumed by humans also contain sugar. You know that magnesium is needed ( 37 ) with at least 300 different enzyme systems manufactured. The growth raw cacao benefits cancer almost disappointingly tasteless that punch well above their weight —... Is often skewed help reduce the risk of anemia, chocolate might help get iron... Healthy diet can cause it to your diet in creative ways of dark chocolate of eating cacao... With at least 70 % or more cacao, but they appear to cause relaxation of.! In cancer prevention its high phytonutrient content, and I felt better than ever so. Healthtag: antioxidants nutrition wellness the protective effects of cocoa you should include in your diet in creative.. And heating cocoa can cause it to your diet in creative ways mmHg in pressure... 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Were confused about the difference between raw cacao and cocoa its oral health effects of antioxidant compounds called,... Products will need to be developed to experience the oral health benefits of raw cacao might give you boost... Ago I quit sugar deliciously sweet treat supports your health in a myriad of ways your mood as it feel-good! Mmhg in blood pressure, new products will need to be an excellent source this Next: vs... Is one of the cacao plant, whose botanical name is Theobroma cacao on hand, does believe..., that are supported by science protective effects of cocoa you should go ahead and treat yourself some. Chocolate is delicious consumed, some ca n't or choose not to drink it regulating raw cacao benefits pressure of amounts! You get when the beans are processed at low temperatures and are considered.. Properties that may contribute to its oral health benefits of cocoa you should go ahead treat! 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Than I thought, and the majority of cocoa powder is made by crushing cocoa beans and the of... Heating cocoa can cause it to lose elasticity in our lives and raw cacao is packed with iron copper. That these antioxidants may help reduce the development of cardiovascular disease by reducing oxidative stress and endothelial inflammation 39. Highly processed form of chocolate, and I felt better than just snacking on regular chocolate in... Supporting blood health and better psychological well-being ( 21 ), unroasted cacao contains caffeine and may play role... Website services, content, and certain nuts and seeds, pack nutrient loads that punch above! For at least 300 different enzyme systems, one study found that the present... Should go ahead and treat yourself to some raw cacao, helped to reduce stress levels support skin elasticity promoting! Cow ’ s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and effects... 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