We get asked this very question almost every day here at Nutritionista™ HQ.
Quite literally the Greek word ‘cacao’ translates into ‘food of the Gods’, and we couldn’t agree more (read more here http://exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu/chocolate/theobromacacao.php).
The raw cacao bean has more than 300 nutritional compounds including many vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as:
* Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese,
* Polyphenols and antioxidant rich flavonoids,
* Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C & E,
* An essential heart-healthy fat known as oleic acid,
* Protein & Fiber.
Raw Cacao Chocolate lower blood pressure & improve circulation
Flavanols, theobromine, and other components found in cacao may lower blood pressure and enhance circulation by promoting dilation, strength, and health of blood vessels (read more here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/8/39).
Raw Cacao Chocolate promotes cardiovascular function & health
The antioxidant power of flavonoids and essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.
Raw Cacao Chocolate neutralizes free radicals
High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a buildup of free radicals from sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoking, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our bodies need antioxidants to ‘mop up’ free radicals that can damage our cells. Scientists from Cornell University recently discovered that raw cacao powder contains nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.
Raw Cacao Chocolate can aid in weight loss
Raw cacao is also an excellent source of another important mineral, chromium which regulates blood sugar and also increases zinc sensitivity. So it’s great for those with type two diabetes or insulin resistance who are struggling to lose weight
Raw Cacao Chocolate can improve digestion
A sufficient amount of fiber delivered with each serving of cacao supports digestion while cacao stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.
Raw Cacao Chocolate can enhance physical and mental well-being
There are many components of cacao including alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health. For example, theombromine helps to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles, and dilate blood vessels, giving the body a boost of energy; “bliss” chemicals found in cacao help to increase circulation and availability of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in brain, improving mood and combating depression.
So why “Raw”?
Be cautious on cheap chocolate with the label of ‘Raw Chocolate’ or ‘Raw Cacao’.
Raw cacao are only fermented & dried (thus conserving their superfood composition) and are NOT roasted.
Roasted cacao (which most commercial and artisan chocolate are made from) are stripped of their antioxidant properties and superfood composition.
Here at Nutritionista™ we only use raw, unprocessed cacao beans.